Homemade Tomato Soup

I’ve been making a lot of soups lately… wishful thinking perhaps? The weather is still warm out but it has been raining a lot, so maybe that’s what has put me in such a big soup mood. Last night I made a Zupas inspired tomato basil with orzo soup and broiled some sourdough bread with cheddar to go along with it- yum!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients
1 tbsp. reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. carrot, grated finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can tomato soup
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/2 tsp. fresh basil (I use Gourmet Garden tubes found in the produce section)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
3 oz. cream cheese (full or reduced fat), cubed
2 tbsp. whole milk or half and half

1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan for garnish
2 c. cooked orzo pasta

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.
2. Add sun-dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato soup, chicken broth, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Bring soup to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Remove soup from heat. Transfer soup to a blender. Add cream cheese and whole milk or half and half. Remove center piece from blender to allow steam to escape. Cover with a paper towel to prevent splatters. Process for a few minutes until smooth, making sure the soup is creamy (I would pulse it for at least 2-3 minutes in order to avoid it being chunky- trust me!).
4. Return mixture to stove and heat for 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Place two large spoonfuls or orzo pasta in bottom of individual bowls. Ladle soup over and garnish with parmesan.