If you are looking for a light soup recipe, the kind that will help you keep up with your new year’s resolutions, you might want to skip this post. This is definitely not a resolution-keeping, weight-loss, figure-friendly soup. However, if you are interest in a creamy, indulgent, rich soup that reminds you of the best soups you tried at restaurants….then read on.
This soup is so rich that it’s intended to be served in small portions, like an appetizer. It is creamy and delicious and just what I crave on those rainy and grey Seattle days. The walnut pesto and the goat cheese croutons (which aren’t technically croutons) are a perfect compliment to the soup. The pesto lends a fresh and garlicky touch and the goat cheese crouton gives tang and texture. I like using coarse cornmeal to coat the goat cheese because it gives it a wonderful contrast of textures with the soft cheese.
Creamy tomato and basil soup with walnut pesto and goat cheese crouton recipe:
makes 6 servings
You will need:
For the tomato and basil soup:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups of chopped tomatoes (use fresh when in season, otherwise use good quality canned)
3 cups of tomato juice
10 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 cup of half and half
4 tablespoons of butter
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot and cook the onions and garlic until they soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato juice and simmer for 20 minutes, until soup thickens slightly.
Blend the soup along with the basil leaves, return soup to pot and season with salt and pepper. With the soup on low heat, add the half and half and the butter, stirring until it’s all combined and the butter is completely melted.
Spoon soup into small bowls, drizzle with the walnut pesto and top with a piece of goat cheese crouton.
For the walnut pesto:
makes 1/4 cup
1 packed cup of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse the basil, garlic and the walnuts in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil (use more or less until you get the desired consistency, I like my pesto loose and more on the liquid side). Pour pesto into a small bowl, stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered and refrigerated.
For the goat cheese croutons:
makes 6 “croutons”
1 log of goat cheese (8 inches)
1/4 cup of coarse corn meal
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
Place the cheese in the freezer for 10 minutes. Spread the corn meal in a deep dish. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet. Slice the cheese into 6 rounds, coat each piece with cornmeal and shallow fry it in the oil until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper towel to dry.