Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lush Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto and Basil Oil

Looking for something to do with the last of your summer toms and basil? Look no further. Tom and Basil are going to parrrtay.

Lush Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto and Basil Oil
slightly adapted from here
Serves 4

For the Soup:
50g (1 3/4 oz) unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and diced
Sea salt to taste
1 long red chilli, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
100g (3 1/2 oz) caster sugar
250ml (9 fl oz) red wine vinegar
2kg (4 1/2 pounds) really ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 thick slices of white bread (I used ciabatta), torn into rough chunks
A large bunch of basil. leaves and fine stems
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the Pesto:
A large bunch basil, leaves picked
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
50g (1 3/4 oz) pine nuts
50g (1 3/4 oz) parmesan, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml (5 fl oz) olive oil

For the Oil:
A large handful basil, leaves picked
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) olive oil
pinch salt

Make the Soup:
Heat a large heavy pot on medium-low heat. Add the butter and when it's melted, add the onion and a sprinkling of salt and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the chilli and garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes.

Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the mixture it reduced by about a quarter and starts to look syrupy.

Add the tomatoes and bring back to the boil. Clamp a lid on the pot and cook at a lively simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have completely broken down. Take off the heat, add the bread, basil and smoked paprika, stir and leave for 15 minutes so that the bread can soften in the juices. Stick the whole lot in a blender and blitz until smooth. Push through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Discard the skins and seeds and set aside.

Make the Pesto:
Put all the pesto ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Make the Oil:
Put the basil leaves into a bowl. Pour over some boiling water and after 10 seconds, drain and plunge the leaves into some ice water. Lift the leaves out of the ice water with a slotted spoon, dry on kitchen towel and put into a blender with the oil and salt. Blitz until smashed up, pour through fine muslin into a bottle. Set aside.

To Serve: 

Heat the soup to that it is piping hot, adding some water if it is too thick and adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Ladle into 4 deep bowls, spoon a generous dollop of pesto into the middle of each bowl and drizzle with basil oil.


  1. Hello to this wonderful summer soup! Damn it looks good :) With the basil and the tomato and awww...I want this soup now!!

    1. Not long until your sipping this soup too Gabrielle.

  2. Well I know who is stocking up on tomatoes from the market this weekend :) And I have a bundle of basil all ready to go! This is how the end of summer should taste :) And that basil oil has me dreaming of pumped up bruschetta!

    1. Yay for summer and the end of summer and the end of summer toms and bas. Oh yeah, the basil oil would be perfect for bruschetta.

  3. That technique for the basil oil is a great idea. Is that cheesecloth?

    1. Yes, it's cheesecloth. We call it muslin in our neck of the woods, but it's the same thing.

  4. Sigh, tomatoes are another food I cannot eat at present. A lovely recipe, Jennifer.

  5. Stunning. I just want to drink that basil oil!