PREP: 30 minutes COOK: 40 minutes MAKES 4 servings
• 31⁄2 pounds ripe tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)
• 11⁄2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
• 11⁄2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
• 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 11⁄2 cups finely shredded Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese (6 ounces)
• 1⁄2 cup whipping cream
• 1 tablespoon Armagnac or cognac (optional)
1. Set aside 1 tomato. To peel remaining tomatoes, dip in boiling water for 30 seconds or until skins start to split. Dip in cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and core tomatoes. Coarsely chop; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add onion; cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. In a food processor add half of the tomato mixture. Cover and process until almost smooth. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture. Return all of the soup to the saucepan.
4. Finely chop basil; reserve 1⁄4 cup. Stir the remaining basil, the salt, and pepper into tomato mixture. Heat through. Add cheese, cream, and, if desired, Armagnac. Heat and stir just until cheese melts (do not boil).
5. Chop the reserved tomato; combine with the reserved 1⁄4 cup basil. Sprinkle each serving with chopped tomato and basil.
PER SERVING: 453 cal., 34 g total fat (20 g sat. fat), 111 mg chol., 841 mg sodium, 21 g carb., 6 g fiber, 20 g pro.