Lowfat Roma Tomato Basil Soup
My initial joy in discovering an online recipe for Nordstrom Café’s fabulous Roma Tomato Basil soup was quickly quashed — it calls for TWO cups of heavy cream (adding more than 170 grams of fat and 1,600 calories)!
Edited version: My first attempt at a healthier soup involved substituting fat-free half-and-half for the cream. This resulted in an odd sweetness ; not terrible, but certainly not Nordstrom-worthy. I tried it again with a can of fat-free evaporated milk. Voila! Pure tomato perfection.
Roma Tomato Basil Soup. (adapted from Recipezaar)
2 T. olive oil
5 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T. dry basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 (14.5-oz.) cans peeled roma tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes work fine)
1 quart (4 c.) chicken or vegetable broth
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated skim milk
Chopped fresh basil for garnish (highly recommended)
Heat olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan. Add carrots, onion, garlic and basil and cook on medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.* Add tomatoes and broth and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree soup in blender or food processor, in batches, until smooth; return to saucepan. (An immersion blender would likely also work well here. It’s on my list**.) Stir in evaporated milk and heat (on low) just until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with basil and serve. Makes 15 to 20 servings.
*NOTE: After blowing the lid off my blender and spraying hot, red (stains everything!) mess everywhere, I discovered an easier, faster method: after sautéing the vegetables, add half the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly, then puree mixture in batches with the tomatoes and remaining broth – enough to fill the blender about half full each time. Return entire mixture to stove and simmer for 10-15 minutes before adding evaporated milk.
**Update (March 2011): Finally acquired an immersion blender and tried it with this soup. HIGHLY recommend.