This is a somewhat cleaned-up version of Cosi’s soup. Sam and I are absolutely not the kind of people who eat particularly healthfully, but when I read that the real version has this much saturated fat, I decided that was crossing a line, even for us. I tried a couple of copycat recipes found online with a friend – we learned not to use dried basil or to substitute soy milk – and we made one edible version, but it just wasn’t close to Cosi’s. So this is my answer to those recipes.
Sorry for the blurry pictures. Paul is teething.
3 cloves of garlic
28 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
7 oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon*
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fat-free half-and-half (what is fat-free half-and-half? I don’t understand)
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (heaping) fresh basil
Like most good recipes, this one starts with finely-chopped garlic in olive oil, but only for a minute over medium heat. Then dump in the tomatoes (with juice) and tomato paste. I like to stir it around and crush the tomatoes a bit with a wooden spoon.
Add the Better than Bouillon, white pepper, and sugar (unless such things as sugar and baking soda are anathema to you when it comes to tomato recipes, in which case you are too cool for this blog, trust me). Let this simmer, covered for fifteen minutes.
Then roll them up like a cigarette (couldn’t think of a better image) and slice them width-wise (as in, not length-wise) to make pretty basil ribbons:
You can let the tomato mixture cool a bit before blending it if you’re nervous, but either way I like to put a towel over the blender and hold it down while I puree it:
Then pour it back into the pot, and add the baking soda. It will get very excited, like this:
Just keep stirring it and whispering soothing things to it, and it will calm down. Then turn the heat back on and warm it up a bit. Add the half-and-half, cheddar cheese, and basil:
I always serve mine with some kind of fresh bread, but you can serve it with salad, if you must. Sorry there’s no picture of the soup in a bowl – it got eaten too quickly!
*This stuff is supposed to be free from msg and have less sodium than bouillon. I hope I’m not just being a sucker for marketing, and that it actually is better.