Back when I worked for a consumer goods company, the descriptive word we used to wrestle with the most when labeling food was “robust.” Like, what does that word even mean? (For the record, technically I guess it means, “strong and healthy“).
People consistently thought it was a super terrific word to describe food, but when we would ask focus groups to tell us what that word meant to them, the answers were usually pretty hilarious. It was sort of obvious that we weren’t the only ones who couldn’t understand it in the context of food.
Similarly, I struggled when trying to name this soup. My first draft called it “Pantry Tomato Soup” because that’s the beauty of this recipe: you probably already have everything you need to make it. But, that made it sound like an instruction to go to your pantry and get out a can of tomato soup, which…wasn’t what I was going for. I love raw tomatoes, I love cooked tomatoes, I love roasted tomatoes, I love tomato sauce, I love homemade tomato soup. But, I really (really) don’t like canned tomato soup or tomato juice. Like, I can’t eat them at all. What is that? Weird.
So, I went with “rustic” because that’s exactly what it is: simple and uncomplicated. This soup is thick, it’s rich, and it’s absolutely perfect for grilled cheese dunking.
Hopefully it even makes you feel robust.
- 2 T. olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped carrots
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ¾ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until they are softened and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Pour in the wine, stir well, and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the wine is slightly reduced.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese, and stir until it melts completely into the soup. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve.