Amazing Tomato Soup
This soup was a little labor-intensive for a tomato soup, but the results were worth it. I've been striving to re-create a favorite soup from Zuppa's, and Brian and I think this one is even better (and I'm sure it's much better for you!) Try this with some homemade crusty bread (I just got the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day—MMMMmmmmm) or a grilled cheese sandwich.
¼ c. olive oil
4 c. thinly sliced onions (3 large onions)
½ t. salt
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (Yes, the whole head!)
1 carrot, shredded or sliced thin
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
2 T. tomato paste
3 cans diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz. each)
2 c. chicken broth or water
1 t. sage
3 strips of orange zest (use a vegetable peeler)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream, half and half, or plain yogurt
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions and salt and cook over medium heat about 4 minutes. Add garlic cloves, carrot, and red pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and stir until blended. Add tomatoes, broth, sage, and orange zest strips. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard the orange zest, then blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in cream (1-2 cups) or other dairy product to achieve desired creaminess. I only put in a cup of plain yogurt and I've also used a block of cream cheese. Both are very good. If you like it creamier, add two cups. I'm sure Zuppa's uses real cream, but I can do without all the extra calories.
*I like this soup with orzo in it—that's the way they serve it at Zuppa's, but it's also good without.