Warm Tomato Bisque

Super easy, super yummy, super fast. Perfect for lunch after church, or a quick dinner, or maybe even a quick meal for a friend.

1 T. butter
1 T. flour
4 cups whole milk
1 to 2 cans tomato paste (depending on how creamy or tomato-y you want the final product to be)
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. white pepper
1 cup chicken broth (or substitutions as mentioned below)
1-2 T. cholula hot sauce
1/2 to 1 cup of small pasta

Measure 1 T. butter into a big pan, turned to med-high heat and 1 T. flour into the melting butter. Whisk flour and butter into a thick paste and let it heat for a minute. The smoother it becomes, the better the end results of the soup will be.

Basically, we are making a roux, which is the base for gravy, cream soups, and many other sauces.

Once the flour and butter have heated and turned into a thick paste you will add a bit of whole milk, only a bit, and then whisk it in really well. It will be really smooth and really thick, then slowly add more and more milk, maybe 1/4 C. at a time until it is a thick creamy texture, whisking after every milk addition. This may seem tedious, but it will go fast and will give you a really smooth texture with no lumps for your soup base. Once you have added about 1-1/2 cups of whole milk your base is ready.

Next, you want to add in the remaining milk. I put in about 4 cups total of whole milk, then whisk it really well and let it heat over medium until it bubbles and boils. You want it to boil this way for about two minutes. If you skip this step the milk will curdle when you add the tomato, and the soup will not be good.

To the cream soup base add 1 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. onion powder, 1/2 t. thyme, 1/2 t. basil, 1/2 t. white pepper, and one cup of chicken broth (or one cube boullion and one cup of water, or 1 t. chicken soup base with one cup of water). Now, for a little bite, add 1 to 2 T. of Cholula hot sauce (optional). Bring this nice mixture to a boil and let it thicken a bit as it boils.

Once  it has been boiling for a few minutes add in one can of tomato paste and whisk it evenly into the mix. When this is well mixed add another cup of water and bring to a soft boil, then add a handful of the pasta of your choice and boil until pasta is tender (check the pasta as it boils, it will take longer to boil and may need additional water added if the cooking seems to stall, but be cautious with adding water, you don’t want to over do it, I always have a tasting spoon nearby to make sure I don’t over do it on water.)

When the pasta is cooked through, turn the heat back to low and take the final step, a taste test. It may need salt. If it does, add kosher salt a half teaspoon at a time stirring in and then tasting again. Remember, it is always easy to add more salt than to remove salt. Now, get ready to eat! And probably cry. I almost did.

As always, all spices and quantities are optional. If you want to add a different flavor or cut one of the existing, definitely go for it.

Some really nice additions to this soup are fresh mozarella, sour cream, and/or fresh basil.

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