Aawhh autumn, what a wonderful season. The leaves are turning from vibrant green to reds and golds, the air is crisp and hearty soup is on the table. This past weekend was Homecoming and my mom came to Lawrence for a visit. We had a blast tailgating at the KU vs. Texas Tech game, decorating for Halloween, and my personal favorite, making tomato soup. I used a recipe from a newly purchased cookbook that I was dying to try out. The results were amazingly delicious that puts Panera’s tomato soup to shame.

Ingredients: 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 lbs Hunts whole canned tomatoes, quartered

3 tsp sugar

1 tbsp Hunts tomato paste

2  1/2 cups warmed vegetable stock

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

heavy cream for garnish (optional)

homemade croutons  (optional)

Directions: 

1) Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onions and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic when the onion softens. Stir occasionally.

2) Quarter the tomatoes and add them into the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sugar and tomato paste, stir and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

3) While the tomato mixture is simmering, you can start making your croutons. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Begin cutting up day-old or harder bread slices into bite-sized squares. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes turning them often. To make them extra crispy, after the 10 minutes broil them for 3 minutes.

By now the entire kitchen smells like your Italian grandmothers house. The rich tomatoey-garlic mixture brings visitors into the kitchen.

Norah wanted a taste!

4) After 30 minutes pour the stock into the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse or blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with croutons, heavy cream and basil. Enjoy with friends and loved ones.

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