Simply Homemade: Creamy Italian Tomato Soup

Who remembers school day lunches with tomato soup? If your school was anything like mine, it was likely the off-brand plain tomato soup poured out of economy size cans and warmed up. I’m not 100% sure on the recipe to recreate that ‘fabulousness’ but I’d guess it’s tomatoes plain and simple. Purée until baby food texture then add water and cook down. Plop into a bowl and force kids to at least dip their soggy grilled cheese sandwich in before tossing the majority into the trash.

My grandma, bless her heart, would occasionally heat up a couple cans of tomato soup for a quick and easy lunch for us grandkids too. I vividly remember concentrating on how much I’d need to choke down before I could claim to be full so I wouldn’t hurt her feelings. Not sure why but, at grandma’s house, it was standard practice to have saltine crackers with a little smear of butter on top anytime we had soup. I was never more thankful for that than the few times we had tomato soup so I could blame my full stomach on the buttered crackers and not have to finish my whole bowl of “soup”. Can you tell how much I love traditional tomato soup based on those memories? 😉

As an adult, I swore I would never waste time with it. But, alas, my love of cooking and making soups with layers of flavor led me to the challenge of making a tomato soup version that I could tolerate. When I told my husband that I was going to attempt a new and improved version of tomato soup he launched into his own similar memories of boring school lunches and him trying to force down a bowl of “warmed ketchup” so as to not hurt his great-grandma’s feelings. He then asked me, in his typical blunt fashion, why I would bother trying it when we both know we don’t like it. I responded that it’s just too great of a dipping soup to ignore and we all love a delicious grilled cheese or toasted sandwich. He agreed and grudgingly said he would try it but doubted he’d like it. Him and my dad both share the thought that a meal isn’t a meal without some kind of meat so I promised sandwiches would be served with it too.

With such enthusiasm behind making this, I set out to research what other people have done to make better versions. The first thing that caught my eye was creamy tomato soup. It’s rare I meet a recipe with creamy in the title that isn’t an improvement because of the milk based ingredient addition. From there, I decided I needed to make it have some sort of flavor beyond tomatoes and water. I figured I was already deviating with the cream so may as well deviate with a flavor profile sure to please myself and my family…Italian!

I then decided to simplify it by using pesto rather than fresh garlic and basil and spices. One ingredient instead of multiple equals happiness! Let me tell you, adding pesto and a little cream entirely changed the end result of this dish! I didn’t include this option below but, if you have the time, make and use roasted garlic (game changer!). It’s also delicious with the addition of tortellini at the end of the cooking time so it’s a more filling dinner. My daughter and husband are both now huge fans and request this soup regularly during the cold winter months. I especially love making this and using provolone cheese in the grilled cheese sandwiches and it’s fabulous with meatball subs too!

If you are also a lover of Italian flavors and are open to a twist on an original staple soup recipe, please give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Creamy Italian Tomato Soup

  • Servings: Approximately 10
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Simply delicious twist on a traditional soup!

Ingredients

-4 cups chicken stock

-8 cups stewed tomatoes (including juice)

-2 tablespoons pesto

-1 teaspoon onion powder

-1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 1/2 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese

-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

-Sandwich fixings for soup dipping!

Directions

1) In large pot, pour in the chicken broth, stewed tomatoes, garlic, onion powder, and pesto and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

2) Use immersion blender or mixer to (carefully!) blend hot soup into smooth consistency.

3) Add in Parmesan cheese and heavy whipping cream and stir well then cook for an additional 10 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted in.

4) Serve with grilled cheese or sandwich of choice to dip in!

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