Tomato Soup with Basil Oil and Balsamic Syrup

Maybe you don’t know this about me, but I am super into planning. I plan almost everything. One of my best friends teases me that I plan bathroom breaks, but there is no joking there. I really do. But, it is extremely useful when we would go to the movies and have to sit through long ones like the Lord of the Rings movies. Ugggghhhh. So yes, I am all about timing. I had guests tell me that my wedding day was the smoothest they had ever seen, with everything seeming to fall into place. It was all planned by yours truly (with a little help from some vendors).

What you are looking forward to in this blog post.

What you are looking forward to in this blog post.

This means that when it comes to dinner parties, if I am somewhat in charge like I was this time, there is a written schedule with everything that will be happening.

Changes had to be made due to some travel difficulties.

Changes had to be made due to some travel difficulties.

And, if you host dinner parties the way Lisa and I do, then you host it at someone else’s house and have to bring lots of stuff with you:

Sooo much stuff

Sooo much stuff

For our last party, K actually had to go all the way back home for me because I forgot the ice cream. That was definitely not going to happen for this one! I blame nerves. This time was pretty smooth. (And yes, you see pot holders on that list. Our friend doesn’t own any, so I made sure to bring a pair this time. Last time we had to use Sham-wow cloths).

Sham-wows this time were trivets!

Sham-wows this time were trivets!

To make the tomato soup, you will start by making a basil oil. You can leave it out if you want, but it adds a nice brightness to the dish. The Balsamic syrup could also be left out, but again, it really adds to the dish. If you click on the link you can see how I made it. Basically, you reduce balsamic vinegar with a bit of sugar until it is reduced in half. Make as little or as much as you want.

Proud Hostesses

Proud Hostesses

Because these pictures are from a dinner party, expect the amounts to look a little off since I doubled the recipe. The recipe below serves easily 4, but as an appetizer a few more. Save the leftover basil oil for the leftover soup if you have some, or feel free to store for it for about a week. You can add it into dishes like you would add pesto.

Directions for Basil Oil

Adapted from Essential Pepin

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Blanch the basil for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water.

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Place in a blender, mini food-processor, or something similar along with the salt and 1/4 cup olive oil.

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Blend until smooth. Add more oil as necessary to form a mixture similar to pesto. Set aside until ready to use.

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Directions for Tomato Soup

Adapted from Essential Pepin

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • Basil oil (see above)
  • Balsamic syrup (see above)

Saute the onions, garlic, thyme, and oregano in some olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan.

IMG_3853

Continue sauteing until the onions brown slightly and soften.

This takes about 5-8 minutes.

This takes about 5-8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes (if using canned, empty the liquid, too, but use less water), tomato paste, sugar, salt, ground pepper, and water.

IMG_3855

Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to medium low. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

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Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the soup until there are only a few chunks remaining (or make it smooth if you like).

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Season with more salt and pepper as necessary. Serve, drizzled with the basil oil and balsamic syrup, if using.

Being silly.

Being silly.

IMG_3880

Directions for Basil Oil (without pictures)

Adapted from Essential Pepin

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Blanch the basil for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a blender, mini food-processor, or something similar along with the salt and 1/4 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add more oil as necessary to form a mixture similar to pesto. Set aside until ready to use.

Directions for Tomato Soup (without pictures)

Adapted from Essential Pepin

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • Basil oil (see above)
  • Balsamic syrup (see above)

Saute the onions, garlic, thyme, and oregano in some olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan. Continue sauteing until the onions brown slightly and soften. Add the tomatoes (if using canned, empty the liquid, too, but use less water), tomato paste, sugar, salt, ground pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to medium low. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the soup until there are only a few chunks remaining (or make it smooth if you like). Season with more salt and pepper as necessary. Serve, drizzled with the basil oil and balsamic syrup, if using.

The whole meal!

The whole meal!

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4 thoughts on “Tomato Soup with Basil Oil and Balsamic Syrup

  1. I LOVE THE SILLY SHOT!!

    This was such a fun dinner party and I am so grateful you put in the time to organize everything the way you did. I still feel bad about sort of “showing up”, it was a busy weekend!

    I love how you said that’s our tradition for dinner parties. To bring all of our stuff somewhere else and set up shop. So true. We shouldn’t have to be so good at this… 😛

    This is one of my favorite menus in recent memory – thanks for the awesome theme and for all of the super hard work and thought you put into everything.

    And yeah, the soup was bomb, I loved the look and taste for including both basil oil and basalmic vinegar.

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