This creamy roasted tomato soup uses a simple culinary trick: the power of rice. Hidden inside the roasted tomatoes, dotted with fresh seasonal green beans and flavored with robust fresh herbs, is a thickener of freshly cooked (slightly overcooked, really) rice, which, when pureed, becomes smooth and oh-so creamy. This recipes can be made year round if you use high-quality canned fire-roasted tomatoes; feel free to substitute any mild, seasonal green vegetable—from chayote to snap peas to zucchini—according to availability.
- ½ cup medium-grain white rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 tube (4.4 ounces) tomato paste, preferably San Marzano
- 6 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
- ¼ cup chiffonade of basil leaves, (see Kitchen Tip) divided
- 5 sprigs fresh oregano
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, cut in half and minced, any green centers discarded
- 7 cups (2 recipes) Roasted Tomatoes and their juice or 2 cans (28 ounces each) chopped fire-roasted organic tomatoes in their juice, preferably Muir Glen
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups fresh green beans or haricots verts, cut in ½-inch pieces
- Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under running water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the olive oil over high heat for about 1 minute, until it shimmers. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the tomato paste and cook gently, stirring, for 1 minute or until it darkens slightly; watch carefully to ensure that it does not burn. Add the stock and stir gently until the soup comes comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rice, stirring well. Add half the basil leaves, the oregano, thyme, and garlic and stir well. Add the roasted tomatoes, agave, salt, and pepper and stir well. Cover and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is overcooked and slightly mushy, but not falling apart. Remove the oregano and thyme stems.
- Using an immersion blender, process the soup mixture for about 2 minutes, or until it is totally and completely smooth.
- Add the green beans, stir and maintain at a simmer. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the green beans are tender but not mushy. Garnish with the remaining basil and a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.
- This will keep refrigerated in a covered container for 3 days. Reheat back to a boil and simmer, before serving.
- Chiffonade simply means that leafy greens or herbs are cut into thin strips. To make a chiffonade of basil, stack the leaves on top of one another on a work surface. Roll tightly from stem to tip and then cut the roll crosswise in ⅛-inch slices with a sharp knife. Unroll and you will have lovely, thin slivers of basil.