1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
Leave the can of instant tomato soup on the shelf and whip up Barbara Lynch’s fresh, snappy version. The chef-owner of six locales in Boston, including No. 9 Park and Menton, suggests serving her soup with a crispy, oozy grilled cheese sandwich.
Adapted from "Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition" by Barbara Lynch
1Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and very tender, about 10 minutes.
2Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, plus the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and let cool briefly, about 5 minutes.
3Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or ladle; discard the solids. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
4Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat on medium low until hot. If you choose, serve topped with a tablespoon of crème fraîche.