The method in this recipe is so satisfying. All the ingredients go onto a baking sheet, and the oven does the work for you. Roasting everything from the tomatoes to the celery gives the soup a deep sweetness, and the carrots make it unexpectedly rich. It’s great early fall dinner fare and perfect, of course, with a good grilled cheese. Because roasting brings out the best in even winter supermarket tomatoes, feel free to make this all year round. That being said, this soup also freezes well, so it’s a good way to preserve tomatoes right at the end of the season. Just leave out the cream, and add it later when you pull out the soup in January.
- Yield: 2 Quarts
- 2½ pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
- 2 stalks celery (with leaves if they look good), cut into 2 inch lengths
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 4 medium carrots (8 ounces), sliced lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch lengths
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 head of garlic
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock or water, plus more as needed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 20 fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay the tomato wedges on the baking sheet and scatter the oregano leaves over them. Arrange the celery, onion, and carrots on the sheet as well. Don’t be afraid to pack it, as nothing really needs space. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and lightly sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt.
- Peel the outer paper from the head of garlic, and slice the top off the head just enough to expose the cloves. Wrap the head up in aluminum foil like a present, leaving the top open. Pour a glug of olive oil into the top of the bulb, and seal the foil. Add the wrapped garlic to the baking sheet, taking care not to touch any tomatoes with it to prevent them from absorbing the flavor of the foil. Roast until the onions crisp up around the edges, the carrots are soft, and the tomatoes plump up and begin to release their juices, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, unwrap the garlic, and let the vegetables cool until you can handle them.
- Transfer the vegetables and any pan juices to a blender. Squeeze the sweet roasted garlic cloves into the blender as well. Add the stock, cream, basil, and ½ teaspoon salt. (If you have a large high-speed blender you can do this all in one go, but if your blender is smaller, divide the vegetables and liquid into two or three batches.) Add more stock to thin the soup, if you wish. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with a few torn basil leaves, for garnish.