Recipe for Tomato Basil with Parmesan Soup – Compliments of Seattle’s Chef Congdon

There is something wonderful about homemade tomato soup, especially since I grew up eating a certain brand from a certain can that had a certain texture which was preternaturally smooth.  This recipe, however, taught me that tomato soup can have flavor, texture, and depth.  I did not realize, until making a pureed version of this soup that the customers at the Hopvine preferred it chunky.  So I scrapped the smooth version and focused on this more rustic construct.  I first had a soup similar to this one when I was living in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  There was this wonderful little restaurant/bakery called le Madeleine where they would serve a tomato basil soup every day.  I can’t recall exactly how many times I ate this soup over a 2 year period, but I do remember that I loved every bite.  Thank you le Madeleine for re-introducing me to such a classic flavor.  Now, if only I had a toasted cheese sandwich to accompany this…


Tomato Basil with Parmesan Soup

Serves Eight 1 cup servings
Prep time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Basil, Cheese, Onions, Port, Rosemary, Thyme, Tomatoes, Vegetable Stock
Season Fall, Winter


  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 2 Medium Shallots
  • 1 Garlic bulb
  • 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 4 Sprigs Oregano and/or Marjoram
  • 1 branch Rosemary
  • ¼ lb Basil (set 8 whole leaves aside for garnish)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Whole Peppercorn
  • ½ Cup Port or Burgundy
  • Two 32 oz. Cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan


1 Finely chop thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram, and basil. Discarding stems of all the herbs. Place the chopped thyme, rosemary, and oregano or marjoram in a bowl with salt, whole black peppercorn, and crumbled bay leaves. When the onion mixture is translucent and/or softened add the herbs to the pot with port or burgundy. Stir well, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
2 Add one can of diced tomatoes to the soup pot. Stir well again. Cover and increase heat to a high flame. When the contents begin to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Stirring occasionally to keep the soup from scorching to the bottom of the pot.
3 Remove the pot from the flame and allow the contents to cool until easy to work with. In a food processor, puree in batches, press through a strainer and discard any bits left in the strainer. If the puree is too thick add 1 cup of vegetable stock to each batch in the food processor while pureeing the soup contents.
4 Clean the pot and return the pureed soup to the pot. Pour into the pot the second can of diced tomatoes and the chopped basil.
5 Stir well, set over medium heat and allow the soup to reach a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat, cool for 10 minutes, pour the contents into a plastic or glass 2-quart bowl, and store in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours to help the flavors marry.
6 When serving reheat the soup over a medium heat until it begins to simmer. Serve immediately garnished with freshly shredded Parmesan and a whole basil leaf.