Saturday, September 14, 2013

CREAMY TOMATO BASIL SOUP

2 stalks celery
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup butter, cubed & divided
2 cans (28-oz size) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5-oz) chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 pkg (8-oz) low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp light agave nectar
salt to taste
pepper to taste
fresh basil for garnish, if desired

Place the celery, onion, and garlic in a food processor; pulse on high for 10 seconds until pureed.  Pour puree into a large saucepan but do not rinse food processor.  Add half the butter to the saucepan; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir in the tomatoes and broth; add half the chopped basil.  Bring mixture to a boil while stirring often.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes and place in the food processor with 1 cup of the hot soup.  Process on high until cheese is dissolved, about a minute.  Add cream cheese mixture, agave nectar, and remaining basil and butter.  Stir until combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately garnished with fresh basil, if desired.

Yield: 8 cups

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