When I was in grade school, my favorite lunch was canned tomato soup accompanied by an American cheese sandwich on wheat bread, cold or grilled. It’s still one of my favorite meals but as I got older, canned soup just didn’t do it for me.  Classic tomato soup only requires a few ingredients and doesn’t take long to make.  Sometimes I like to kick it up a notch, so I throw in a seeded, diced jalapeño pepper or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes before blending. — L. Weal 

4 tablespoons salted butter
3 cups (24 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 medium (4-ounce) onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

medium (3-quart) pot
measuring cups and spoons
blender or food processor

1. Melt butter in pot over low heat.
2. Stir in all remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
4. Taste, and season with additional salt, as needed.
5. Let stand until cool — about 30 minutes.
6. Pulse–in batches–in blender until smooth.

• Fill blender only halfway when batching.
• If soup is too thick, add a few ounces of chicken stock.

45 minutes

4 servings