Tomato Basil Soup

This is a dish that heals what ails you. And couldn’t we all use a little extra care and comfort right now? 
The only trick with this simple soup is to salt along the way. I read once that the difference between home cooking and restaurant cooking is heat and salt. Keep tasting to ensure your soup is full flavored and robust.
Tomato Basil Soup

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 1 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped

• 3 carrots, peeled and chopped

• 1 stalk celery, chopped

• ½ tablespoon dried basil OR 1 tablespoon prepared pesto

• 3 28-oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes

• 1 28-oz. box organic chicken stock

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 2 cups milk

• Salt and pepper to taste (about 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)

In a large pot, melt oil and butter together over medium heat. Add diced onion, carrots and celery, stirring often until softened and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Salt and pepper the vegetables and add dried basil. If swapping with pesto, wait to add until tomatoes and chicken stock are added. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken stock and sugar.

Stir to combine and salt and pepper again. Turn heat to low, allowing the veggies to continue to cook and the flavors to combine.

Let the soup simmer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. You can also place a lid on the pot and put the soup in the oven at 300 degrees. Stir occasionally.

Using an immersion blender, potato masher or a regular blender, pulse or mash the liquid to desired smoothness. My family likes it fairly smooth, so I transfer the liquid to my blender. Put soup back on stove and add the milk. Warm through and serve with crusty bread with melted butter, a grilled cheese sandwich or a big glass of wine.

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