I've made this soup numerous times, and have taken the time (and effort) of using my own homegrown tomatoes. In the winter, I resort to using quality canned tomatoes and basil pesto, to make a quick and flavorful homemade tomato soup. Serve this with a grilled cheese sandwich, and you have classic comfort food!
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
large can plum tomatoes
quart low-sodium quality chicken stock (organic, if possible)
small onion, diced
cloves garlic, minced
tsp. red pepper flakes
tsp dried thyme (or fresh)
Tbsp. pesto (I make my own, and freeze it in an ice cube tray, but you can used bottled)
coarse salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Optional: ¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
In a Dutch oven, add just a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tsp). and heat to medium-high. Saute the onions, until tender (about 3-5 minutes) Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds) Add the plum tomatoes and chicken stock and sugar and bring just to a boil. Allow to simmer for 15-30 minutes. If using the pesto, add it to the broth and taste. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. I use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's very slightly chunky. Otherwise, puree in batches in a blender being careful not to get burned with the hot soup. Return to the pot and turn off the heat, and add the heavy cream or half and half, if using this. Serve.