1-2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion (from about 1 medium/small onion)
1 cup diced celery (from about 2 ribs celery)
1/4 cup fresh basil, or 4 cubes frozen (Dorot brand, available from TJoe's freezer case)
1 tsp oregano
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, including juice
2 Tbs. tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, not from a can
1-1/2 cups half and half
1. Add carrots, onions and celery to oil in a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Stir and cook vegetables until the onions are slightly translucent.
2. Once the vegetables have softened, add the basil and oregano and stir for 1 minute (the mixture will become fragrant). Next add the tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth and simmer for 45 minutes, or until veggies are completely softened. A simmer is just below a boil.
3. At this point, the soup will have thickened (if it has not, take the lid off and simmer another 15 minutes). Use a stick blender to blenderize the soup in your stockpot. Alternatively, if you do not have a stick blender, pour the soup into a blender, but do not fill the blender more than 1/2 full each time (trust me on this, please!). You will have to do a couple of batches.
4. Once the soup is smooth, add the Parmesan and half and half and heat through. You are now ready to serve! Of course, like almost any soup, this is great made in advance and will keep for up to a week.
Makes 4 main dish or 8 appetizer servings.