Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, halved with seeds scooped out
1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 - 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
fresh basil leaves, a handful or packed cup, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the tomato halves, 1/8 cup olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to coat the tomatoes. Spread the tomato halves out on a large baking sheet. This should be a heavy baking sheet otherwise you may get smoking from the pan and olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the stewed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered 40 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth. (Alternatively, you can use a blender or food processor. If you do, be sure to vent the steam and be every careful not to spill the hot liquid or wait until it cools down a little)