Tomato and basil soup recipe
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- Dish type
- Vegetable soup
- Tomato soup
- Tomato basil soup
An easy and quick but delicious tomato and basil soup. This is easy to make vegetarian with vegetable stock.
Morayshire, Scotland, UK
517 people made this
- 2 (400g) tins chopped tomatoes
- 400ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 18 leaves fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 250ml whipping or double cream
MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:20min
- Simmer the tomatoes and stock for 10 minutes.
- Add sugar and basil and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add more sugar if required.
- Stir in cream and butter until the butter has melted. Blend slightly (not essential) season to taste. Serve and enjoy!!!
Use some basil leaves to garnish.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(23)
Reviews in English (19)
This is very easy and I hope you enjoy it.-08 Jan 2012
This was a very easy but very delicious soup.-08 Jan 2012
Really good, just made some for lunch. Didn't have cream but it didn't make a huge difference. Great for a quick, healthy, delicious meal.-26 May 2014
Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
In a large pot on the stove, brown onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until translucent.
Add canned tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer for ten minutes.
Add basil and sugar and reduce heat to low. Add one teaspoon sugar and taste to see if mixture needs more sugar.
Stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted. Add salt & pepper, and garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Warm up with this comforting homemade creamy tomato basil soup recipe! It&rsquos super simple to make and so delicious compared to its premade canned version. Our team loves making this on a cold and rainy day. It&rsquos a perfect recipe with little effort.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Creamy tomato basil soup is a cold-weather must-have recipe. It’s unbelievably easy and so delicious.
This recipe is a perfect weeknight meal. You will even have time to make grill cheese sandwiches to dip in the soup.
In our house, the perfect comfort food is a grill cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Really! We won’t even consider eating tomato soup without one.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Video
How To Make Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
This recipe requires very few ingredients. Wash dry the basil, dice the shallot and press the garlic. Oh yeah, open the cans of tomato.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add shallot and saute until translucent.
Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
Add crushed tomatoes (juice and all), chicken stock (or chicken broth), oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Reduce the heat and bring to a low simmer. Cook uncovered stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until it has thickened.
Add the half and half, fresh basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
We love this recipe and the texture but if it’s not smooth enough for you just use an immersion blender to imulsive it to you liking.
How to make tomato soup (stepwise photos)
1. Choose ripe, red & less sour tomatoes. We need 500 grams tomatoes for this recipe. Wash them well and cube them along with 1 medium onion. Onion adds a sweet flavor to the tomato soup so I have used it here.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a pan. Then add 1 small bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves & chopped onions.
3. Fry them on a high flame for 3 to 4 mins until they are slightly roasted. This brings out the sweet flavor from onions.
4. Add tomatoes and sprinkle 1/3 teaspoon salt. You can also optionally add a small carrot (about 3 inches long).
5. Cook them until slightly soft. Add 2 to 3 stalks of basil and cook until tomatoes and onions turn completely mushy. If you do not have basil, you may skip them.
6. Cool the mixture. Discard basil & bay leaf.
7. Transfer to a blender jar and pour 1 cup water. Blend to a smooth puree.
Tip: (If you do not prefer cornstarch in this recipe, then you may add a small boiled potato and blend.
8. Blend very well until smooth.
9. Firstly place a sieve over the pan or pot. Pour the blended mixture & filter. Discard the coarse particles. Bring the soup to a boil on a medium heat.
10. Meanwhile add ¾ tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour) or arrowroot powder to half cup water and mix well to make a slurry.
Ensure there are no lumps of flour.
11. Once the tomato soup comes to a boil, simmer for 2 to 3 mins. Then gradually stir in the corn flour mixture.
12. Next stir in sugar. Boil this well until the tomato soup thickens and the raw flavor of the flour has gone. Taste test this and add more salt if needed.
14. When it reaches your desired consistency then add herbs & black pepper. Turn off the stove.
15. Set the pot aside and stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons cream if using. You can also make cashew cream if you don&rsquot prefer dairy. Soak 25 whole cashew nuts in ¼ cup hot water for 30 minutes. Add them to a small chutney grinder along with the soaked water and puree until you get a thick and smooth cream. If needed add a few tablespoons more water for consistency. Use this to top your tomato soup while serving.
16. Croutons loose the crispness if left for too long so toast the bread just before you serve the soup. Butter bread on both the sides.
17. Heat a pan & toast them on a medium heat until crisp. You can also add some grated garlic and red chili flakes to the bread and toast. You can also toast them in a oven.
18. Cool them and cut with a knife.
Lastly transfer tomato soup to serving bowls. Garnish with herbs & cream. Serve with croutons or toasted bread.
Most folks love tomato soup with just some toasted bread or croutons. To enjoy this in a meal, you can have it with salads, grilled veggies, Cheese toast, Sandwiches , spring rolls & Bread Snacks like cheese balls, toasts & rolls.
You can also have the soup with some Aglio olio, Gobi manchurian, or any noodles
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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker
For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.
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I never thought dinner rolls were something I could get excited about until I got my hand into the breadbasket at Texas Roadhouse. The rolls are fresh out of the oven and they hit the table when you do, so there’s no waiting to tear into a magnificently gooey sweet roll topped with soft cinnamon butter. The first bite you take will make you think of a fresh cinnamon roll, and then you can’t stop eating it. And when the first roll’s gone, you are powerless to resist grabbing for just one more. But it’s never just one more. It’s two or three more, plus a few extra to take home for tomorrow.
Discovering the secret to making rolls at home that taste as good as the real ones involved making numerous batches of dough, each one sweeter than the last (sweetened with sugar, not honey—I checked), until a very sticky batch, proofed for 2 hours, produced exactly what I was looking for. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a handheld one, the only difference being that you must knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. When working with the dough add a little bit of flour at a time to keep it from sticking, and just know that the dough will be less sticky and more workable after the first rise.
Roll the dough out and measure it as specified here, and after a final proofing and a quick bake—plus a generous brushing of butter on the tops—you will produce dinner rolls that look and taste just like the best rolls I’ve had at any famous American dinner chain.
Getting a table at the 123-year-old original Rao’s restaurant in New York City is next to impossible. The tables are “owned” by regulars who schedule their meals months in advance, so every table is full every night, and that’s the way it’s been for the last 38 years. The only way an outsider would get to taste the restaurant’s fresh marinara sauce is to be invited by a regular.
If that isn’t in the stars for you, you could buy a bottle of the sauce at your local market (if they even have it). It won't be fresh, and it's likely to be the most expensive sauce in the store, but it still has that great Rao's taste. An even better solution is to copy the sauce for yourself using this new and very easy hack.
The current co-owner of Rao’s, Frank Pellegrino Jr., told Bon Appetit in 2015 that the famous marinara sauce was created by his grandmother many years ago, and the sauce you buy in stores is the same recipe served in his restaurants. The ingredients are common, but correctly choosing the main ingredient—tomatoes—is important. Try to find San Marzano-style whole canned tomatoes, preferably from Italy. They are a little more expensive than typical canned tomatoes, but they will give you some great sauce.
After 30 minutes of cooking, you’ll end up with about the same amount of sauce as in a large jar of the real thing. Your version will likely be just a little bit brighter and better than the bottled stuff, thanks to the fresh ingredients. But now you can eat it anytime you want, with no reservations, at a table you own.
You might also like my #1 recipe of 2019, Texas Roadhouse Rolls.
To get their Extra Crispy Chicken so crispy KFC breads the chicken two times. This double breading gives the chicken its ultra craggy exterior and extra crunch, which is a different texture than the less crispy Original Recipe Chicken that’s breaded just once and pressure fried.
As with my KFC Original Recipe hack, we must first brine the chicken to give it flavor and moisture all the way through, like the real thing, then the chicken is double breaded and deep fried until golden brown. KFC uses small chickens which cook faster, but small chickens can be hard to find. If your chicken parts are on the large side, they may not cook all the way through in the 12 to 15 minutes of frying I’m specifying here. To be sure your chicken is cooked, start frying with the thickest pieces, like the breasts, then park them in a 300-degree oven while you finish with the smaller pieces. This will keep the chicken warm and crispy, and more importantly, ensure that they are cooked perfectly all the way through.
On my CMT show Top Secret Recipe I chatted with Winston Shelton, a long-time friend of KFC founder Harland Sanders. Winston saw the Colonel's handwritten secret recipe for the Original Recipe chicken, and he told me one of the secret ingredients is Tellicherry black pepper. It's a more expensive, better-tasting black pepper that comes from the Malabar coast in India, and you should use it here if you can find it. Winston pulled me aside and whispered this secret to me when he thought we were off-camera, but our microphones and very alert cameramen caught the whole thing, and we aired it.
I first published this hack in Even More Top Secret Recipes, but recently applied some newly acquired secrets and tips to make this much-improved version of one of the most familiar fried chicken recipes in the world.
This recipe was our #2 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
Crafting a clone of Olive Garden’s signature Lasagna Classico became the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful multi-layered lasagna hack recipe that uses up the whole box of lasagna noodles and fills the baking pan all the way to the top. This Top Secret Recipe makes a lasagna that tips the scale at nearly 10 pounds and will feed hungry mouths for days, with every delicious layer copied directly from the carefully dissected Olive Garden original.
I found a few credible bits of intel in a video of an Olive Garden chef demonstrating what he claims is the real formula on a midday news show, but the recipe was abbreviated for TV and the chef left out some crucial information. One ingredient he conspicuously left out of the recipe is the secret layer of Cheddar cheese located near the middle of the stack. I wasn’t expecting to find Cheddar in lasagna, but when I carefully separated the layers from several servings of the original dish, there was the golden melted cheesy goodness in every slice.
This clone recipe will make enough for 8 big portions, but if you make slightly smaller slices this is easily enough food to fill twelve lasagna-loving bellies. If you like lasagna, you're going to love this version.
Browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.
This 220-unit downscaled version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro targets the lunch crowd with a smaller menu that features bento boxes, bowls, and small plates. The bestseller on the menu is this orange chicken, which I have to say is pretty damn good orange chicken. Obviously, a clone is needed for this one, stat.
The name “Wei Better Orange Chicken” is a competitive callout to Panda Express's signature orange chicken, which is made with pre-breaded and frozen chicken. Pei Wei claims its orange chicken is prepared each day from scratch with chicken that is never frozen, so we’ll craft our clone the same way. But rather than assemble the dish in a wok over a high-flame fast stove like they do at the restaurant, we’ll prepare the sauce and chicken separately, then toss them with fresh orange wedges just before serving.
By the way, this dish goes very well with white or brown rice, so don’t forget to make some.
“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.
One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.
Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.
While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.
For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.
Get more of my KFC copycat recipes here.
The talented chefs at Benihana cook food on hibachi grills with flair and charisma, treating the preparation like a tiny stage show. They juggle salt and pepper shakers, trim food with lightning speed, and flip the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly onto serving plates or into their tall chef's hat.
One of the side dishes that everyone seems to love is the fried rice. At Benihana this dish is prepared by chefs with precooked rice on open hibachi grills, and is ordered a la cart to complement any Benihana entree, including Hibachi Steak and Chicken. I like when the rice is thrown onto the hot hibachi grill and seems to come alive as it sizzles and dances around like a bunch of little jumping beans. Okay, so I'm easily amused.
This Benihana Japanese fried rice recipe will go well with just about any Japanese entree and can be partially prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the rest of the meal is close to done.
It may not be listed on the menu, but this is Applebee's most ladled soup each and every day. Just be sure you have some oven-safe soup bowls on hand before you jump into this clone, since you're going to pop the dish under the broiler to brown and melt the cheese on top. Under the gooey melted provolone of the original version you get from Applebee's is a unique round crouton that's made from bread that looks like a hamburger bun. So that's what we'll use for our clone. The round shape of the bread is perfect for topping this Applebee's French onion soup recipe.
In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family golden retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life golden retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight. Their confidential baked beans formula is considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.
Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from 10 thousand cases in the first year to over 100 thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a top food secret, despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drat!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.
I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the Original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. The recipe starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t soak them for more than 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off.
My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the real Bush’s beans, which include caramel coloring—an ingredient that can be hard to find on its own. I eventually discovered that the “browning” sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, will add the dark caramel color needed to our home version of the beans so that they’ll look just like the real thing.
This recipe was our #5 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4).
Since Panera Bread makes all its ingredients known, it's not hard to find out that there’s no chicken broth in the original recipe, yet every copycat recipe I located online calls for chicken broth, as well as other ingredients clearly not found in Panera's version. Unlike those other recipes, this hack uses the same or similar ingredients to those listed on the company’s website.
One of the ingredients in the soup, according to the posted list, is yeast extract. This tasty ingredient adds an MSG-like savoriness to Panera’s soup, and we can duplicate it by using nutritional yeast—often called "nooch"—now found in many stores, including Whole Foods. A little bit of nooch will provide the umami deliciousness that replaces chicken broth or bouillon.
Panera keeps its soup gluten-free by thickening it with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch, rather than wheat flour. I’ve included those ingredients as well so that your clone is similarly gluten-free. Use the steps below and in about an hour you’ll have 8 servings of a soup that is a culinary doppelganger to Panera Bread's all-time favorite soup, and at a mere fraction of the cost.
A recipe for Portuguese sweet bread inspired the soft rolls that became a big hit at Robert Tiara's Bakery & Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before Robert changed the name of his thriving business to King’s Hawaiian, and in 1977 the company opened its first bakery on the mainland, in Torrance, California, to make the now-famous island sweet rolls sold in stores across the U.S.
King’s Hawaiian Rolls are similar to Texas Roadhouse Rolls in that they are both pillowy, sweet white rolls, so it made sense to dig out my Texas Roadhouse Rolls clone recipe and use it as a starting point. These new rolls had to be slightly softer and sweeter, so I made some adjustments and added a little egg for color. And by baking the dough in a high-rimmed baking pan with 24 dough balls placed snugly together, I ended up with beautiful rolls that rose nicely to the occasion, forming a tear-apart loaf just like the original, but with clean ingredients, and without the dough conditioners found in the packaged rolls.
Use these fluffy sweet rolls for sandwiches, sliders, or simply warmed up and slathered with soft European butter.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2020. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes for the year: Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce (#1), Olive Garden Lasagna Classico (#2), Pei Wei Better Orange Chicken (#4), Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas (#5).
A popular staple of any Chinese chain is the fried rice so it better be good, and the version served at Panda Express most certainly is. Here's an easy hack when you need a stress-free, low-cost side for your entrées. But I do suggest that you cook the white rice several hours or even a day or two before you plan to make the finished dish. I found that the cooked rice called for in this recipe works best when it's cold.
As for a shortcut, bagged frozen peas and carrots will save you from the hassle of petite-dicing carrots since the carrots in those bags are the perfect size to produce an identical clone. And they're already cooked.
Now, how about some Honey Walnut Shrimp, or Beijing Beef to go with that rice? Find all my Panda Express copycat recipes here.
A requirement of any visit to Chicago is eating at least one slice of deep dish pizza in the city that perfected it. Deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago staple after Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened the first Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and served a hearty new style of pizza constructed in a high-rimmed cake pan. The yeast crust was tender and flakey, like a pastry, and the cheese was layered under the sauce so that it wouldn’t burn in a hot oven for the long cooking time.
While researching a home hack of this now-iconic recipe, I discovered an unexpected technique that I hadn’t seen in other deep dish recipes. Employees told me the pizza crusts are partially cooked each morning to cut down on the wait time for customers. Before the restaurant opens each day, cooks press the dough into a pan and then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese. The shells are then partially baked and set aside. Later, when an order comes in, the pizza is built into one of the par-baked crusts and finished off. This way customers get their food faster, and the tables turn over quicker.
Copying that delicious, flakey crust was the task that took me the longest. After two weeks of baking, I finally settled on a formula that was a mash-up of yeast dough and pie crust and made a perfectly tender deep dish crust, with great flavor that exactly mimicked the original. If you like Uno, you will love this.
Regarding the cheese: be sure your cheese is at room temperature, not cold, or it may not melt all the way through. Also, it’s best if you buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag, and it won’t melt as smoothly as cheese you shred by hand.
This recipe will make enough sauce for two pizzas. I just thought you should know that in case you get the urge to make another deep dish after this one disappears.
This recipe was our #4 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
Braised and shredded pork shoulder is a staple of Mexican cuisine that Chipotle prepares with a simple blend of flavors, and a surprising ingredient you may not have expected: juniper berries. Once you track those down (they’re easy to find online), the berries are combined with thyme and bay leaves in a braising liquid that will transform your own pork roast into an easily shreddable thing of beauty in under 3 hours. Then you can use your freshly cloned carnitas on tacos, in burritos, or in a bowl over rice and beans just like they do in the restaurant.
When picking your pork roast, try to find one without too much fat. If your roast has a thick cap of fat on it, trim off the excess. You want some fat in your braising liquid, but if the cap of fat is too thick, it may not fully render down and you’ll get chunks of fat in the shred.
It’s often assumed that the pork butt is from the rear end of the pig, even though cuts from the back region already have a name: ham. The pork butt, also known as a Boston butt, is cut from the other end, the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s called a “butt” because in pre-Revolutionary War New England the roasts were stored and transported in barrels called “butts”, and the confusing name stuck.
Menu Description: “Creamy marsala wine sauce with mushrooms over grilled chicken breasts, stuffed with Italian cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.”
This recipe includes a marsala sauce that even marsala sauce haters will like. My wife is one of those haters, but when she tried this sauce, her eyes lit up and she begged for more. That’s great, now I won’t have to eat alone.
Not only is Olive Garden's delicious marsala sauce hacked here (and it’s easy to make), you’ll also get the copycat hack for the chain's awesome Italian cheese stuffing that goes between the two pan-cooked chicken fillets. Build it, sauce it, serve it. The presentation is awesome, and the flavor will soothe your soul.
Try this dish paired with my recent clone of Olive Garden’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the complete O.G. Stuffed Chicken Marsala experience.
Over the years I've hacked a bunch of items from Chili's menu, including their Fajitas, Baby Back Ribs, Salsa, Chili Queso, Southwestern Eggrolls, Chicken Crispers, Boneless Wings, and more, but it wasn’t until recently that I got the chance to work on a hack for the chain’s award-winning Original Chili. Why it took so long, I have no idea.
The chili served at Chili’s is a Texas-style con carne recipe, which traditionally means no beans and no tomato. You won’t find any beans in this recipe or chunks of tomato, but their chili does have a tomato base to boost flavor, so I’m adding that into the mix by including one 6-ounce can of tomato paste. As it turns out, that small can is just the right amount.
The preparation technique is simple: brown the beef, drain off the fat, then add some of the fat back to the empty pan to sauté the onions and peppers in. When those are done, you add the beef back to the pan along with the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1½ hours. That will be just long enough to braise the beef and tenderize it, and to thicken the chili to a perfect consistency.
When the chili’s done, top each serving with a cheddar/pepper Jack blend, and some crispy tortilla bits. Then pass out the spoons.
Check here more of my Chili's copycat recipes.
The easy-melting, individually-wrapped Kraft Cheddar Singles are a perfect secret ingredient for this Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup recipe that's served at this top soup stop. In this clone, fresh broccoli is first steamed, then diced into little bits before you combine it with chicken broth, half-and-half, shredded carrot, and onion. Now you're just 30 minutes away from soup spoon go-time.
Click here for more of my copycat Panera Bread recipes.
Braised Beef Pasta Menu Description: “Slow-simmered meat sauce with tender braised beef and Italian sausage, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta and a touch of alfredo sauce—just like Nonna’s recipe.”
It’s a mistake to assume that a recipe posted to a restaurant chain’s website is the real recipe for the food served there. I’ve found this to be the case with many Olive Garden recipes, and this one is no exception. A widely circulated recipe that claims to duplicate the chain’s classic Bolognese actually originated on Olive Garden’s own website, and if you make that recipe you’ll be disappointed when the final product doesn’t even come close to the real deal. I won’t get into all the specifics of the things wrong with that recipe (too much wine, save some of that for drinking!), but at first glance it’s easy to see that a few important ingredients found in traditional Bolognese sauces are conspicuously missing, including milk, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.
I incorporated all those missing ingredients into this new hack recipe, tweaked a few other things, and then tested several methods of braising the beef so that it comes out perfectly tender: covered, uncovered, and a combo. The technique I settled on was cooking the sauce covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for 1 additional hour so that the sauce reduces and the beef transforms into a fork-flakeable flavor bomb. Yes, it comes from Olive Garden, but this Bolognese is better than any I’ve had at restaurants that charge twice as much, like Rao’s where the meat is ground, not braised, and they hit you up for $30.
As a side note, Olive Garden’s menu says the dish comes with ruffled pappardelle pasta, but it’s actually mafaldine, a narrower noodle with curly edges (shown in the top right corner of the photo). Pappardelle, which is the traditional pasta to serve with Bolognese, is a very wide noodle with straight edges, and it’s more familiar than mafaldine, so perhaps that’s why the menu fudges this fact. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which pasta you choose. Just know that a wide noodle works best. Even fettuccine is good here.
For the little bit of alfredo sauce spooned into the middle of the dish I went with a premade bottled sauce to save time. You can also make this from scratch if you like (I’ve got a great hack for Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce), but it’s such a small amount that premade sauce in either a chilled tub from the deli section or in a bottle off the shelf works great here.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
And browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.
Menu Description: "Made from scratch in our kitchens using fresh Grade A Fancy Russet potatoes, fresh chopped onion, natural Colby cheese and spices. Baked fresh all day long."
In the late sixties Dan Evins was a Shell Oil "jobber" looking for a new way to market gasoline. He wanted to create a special place that would arouse curiosity, and would pull travelers off the highways. In 1969 he opened the first Cracker Barrel just off Interstate 40 in Lebanon, Tennessee, offering gas, country-style food, and a selection of antiques for sale. Today there are over 529 stores in 41 states, with each restaurant still designed as a country rest stop and gift store. In fact, those stores which carry an average of 4,500 different items apiece have made Cracker Barrel the largest retailer of American-made finished crafts in the United States.
Those who know Cracker Barrel love the restaurant for its delicious home-style breakfasts. This casserole, made with hash brown-sliced potatoes, Colby cheese, milk, beef broth, and spices is served with many of the classic breakfast dishes at the restaurant. The recipe here is designed for a skillet that is also safe to put in the oven (so no plastic handles). If you don't have one of those, you can easily transfer the casserole to a baking dish after it is done cooking on the stove.
Love Cracker Barrel? Check out my other clone recipes here.
For many years this entree has been a top menu choice at Maggiano's, the 54-unit Italian chain from Brinker, the same company that operates Chili’s Grill & Bar. The $30 restaurant dish consists of three 2½-ounce tenderloin steaks, swimming in a fantastic balsamic cream sauce with sliced portobello mushrooms—but a home version of the signature dish is only seven easy steps away, and it won't hit you in the wallet as hard as the pricey original.
Cracking this dish required a perfect hack of the sauce, and that came quickly after obtaining some very reliable information from my incredibly helpful server/informant at a Las Vegas Maggiano’s. Let’s call him Skippy.
According to Skippy, the balsamic cream sauce is as simple as mixing a sweet balsamic glaze with the chain’s creamy alfredo sauce. So, I first got a sample of Maggiano’s alfredo sauce and figured out how to replicate it. Once that was done, I measured increments of balsamic glaze into the alfredo sauce until the color and flavor matched the original. The rest of the recipe was easy.
This recipe will make two servings of the dish and includes preparation for the tenderloins and sauce. If you’d like to complete the dish the way it’s served at the restaurant (as in the photo), add some garlic mashed potatoes on the side, using my hack for Olive Garden Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Menu Description: “Two lightly fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts are smothered with Olive Garden’s homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. We serve our Chicken Parmigiana with a side of spaghetti for dinner.”
Chicken parmigiana is a forever favorite, and it’s not a difficult dish to whip up at home. But for it to taste like the Olive Garden signature entree, we’ll need to take some very specific steps.
Olive Garden’s chicken is salty and moist all the way through, so we must first start by brining the chicken. Give yourself an extra hour for this important marinating step. The marinara sauce used on the chicken is an Olive Garden specialty and no bottled sauce compares, so we’ll make our own from scratch using canned crushed tomatoes and the formula below.
While the sauce cooks, filling your house with its intoxicating aroma, the chicken is breaded and browned. When the marinara is done, top the chicken with the sauce and mozzarella and stick it under your hot broiler until bubbling.
Hopefully, everyone at your house is hungry, because the Olive Garden dinner portion is two chicken fillets, and this recipe will yield a total of four 2-piece servings. Add a small serving of spaghetti on the side, topped with more of the delicious sauce, and you'll have a perfect match to the restaurant plate.
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In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.
I’m not sure why Einstein Bros. claims there are just four cheeses in the new Twice-Baked Hash Brown when the ingredients clearly list six kinds of cheese, plus cream cheese. Regardless, the shredded Asiago, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella listed there can be found combined in an “Italian Blend” at many supermarkets, making for an easy start to our home clone. And don’t just be thinking about breakfast for these cheesy potatoes. They work great as a side for any meal.
In the detailed description of the new item, Einstein Bros. claims the hash browns contain two kinds of schmears, which is true, but a little misleading because one of them is just plain cream cheese. The other is onion-and-chive cream cheese, which we can make from scratch. We’ll combine those two shmears into one blend by doubling the cream cheese added to our onion-and-chive schmear formula.
Mix everything together and load the ingredients into a standard 12-cup muffin pan with circles of parchment paper cut out to fit into the bottom of the 12 cups. Without these parchment circles, the hash browns may stick and break when they’re released. You can also use paper muffin cups, if you don’t mind the less crispy, ridged sides.
Bake them the first time for 30 minutes, then cool and store. Now you have a dozen servings of cheesy hash brown potatoes that are easy to finish off by baking them a second time until crispy. They are great served with breakfast, or for dinner as your starchy side alongside beef, chicken, lamb, and many other savory entrees.
You can also make homemade Einstein Bros bagels, sandwiches, and shmears. See if I hacked your favorites here.
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground pepper
- 2 cups cubed day-old focaccia or sourdough bread (1/2-inch cubes)
- ¼ cup grated Grana Padano cheese
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 pounds Roma tomatoes, diced (9 cups)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil, plus small basil leaves for garnish
- 6 tablespoons grated or shredded Grana Padano cheese
To prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary, sage and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add bread and 1/4 cup Grana Padano and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once halfway, until the croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, to prepare soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add broth, vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the tomatoes are very soft, about 15 minutes more.
Stir basil into the soup. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender in batches, blend the soup to the desired consistency (use caution when blending hot liquids). Serve the soup topped with cheese, the croutons and, if desired, basil leaves.
To make ahead: Store croutons (Steps 1-2) airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day. Refrigerate soup (Steps 3-4) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Make Tomato Basil Soup from Canned Tomato Soup
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In the pantheon of comfort food, tomato basil soup has to be somewhere near the top. Something about the combination of rich, creamy tomatoes and savory seasonings just hits the spot. It's perfectly simple, wonderfully tasty, and versatile enough to use a side or as a light meal all on its own.
Tomato basil soup can be harder to make from scratch than other comfort foods, though, and so sometimes it's easiest to turn to canned tomato soup. Of course, that leads to a problem: canned soup just doesn't have the full, wholesome flavor of homemade tomato basil soup. Is there a way to enjoy that flavor easily?
Thankfully, the answer is yes! It's actually very easy to doctor up canned tomato soup and turn it into something delicious. And the best part is, you probably won't even have to go shopping.
How to Make Tomato Basil Soup: Getting Started
- Simmer: However much or however little you're planning to add to your canned soup, you should always bring it to a simmer (not a full boil!) first. This helps bring out the flavors of tomato and your other ingredients. The longer you simmer, the better. Ideally, you would keep the simmer going for 40 minutes or longer.
- Combine ingredients slowly: Take your time. Taste the soup while it simmers. Think about the process like you're nurturing the soup into maturity, making various course corrections as you go along. If you're following our simmering advice, you should have enough space to keep things slow and steady.
- Experiment and don't feel intimidated: Everything on this list works great with tomato soup, but you don't need to add them all, or even half of them, to have a great soup. Part of the beauty of starting with canned soup is that you already have a solid foundation. If you can't make it out to the store and you only have two or three of these ingredients around, they'll still add to the flavor.
How to Make Your Soup Creamier
- Whole milk: Probably your safest option, it's hard to go wrong here.
- Heavy cream: For when you want your soup super rich and creamy. Be more conservative with how much you add.
- Butter: You can add just a tablespoon or two toward the end of your simmering. It will add a nice extra bit of creaminess and flavor.
Combining pizza and Tex-Mex was a stroke of genius. Why isn't everyone else doing this already? Pizza Quesadillas
How to Make Your Soup Rich
- More Tomatoes: You've got a few options here. You can go with tomato paste, which will do more to change the soup's consistency, or you can go with diced or crushed tomatoes if you want more direct explosions of flavor while you're eating. Either way, you can't go wrong with more tomato.
- Sauteed Onion and Garlic: This classic combo has been the unsung hero of many a tomato soup and sauce. Add it in early for the best results.
- Cheese: Cheddar is especially good. You can add it in the middle of the simmer if you like, but it's amazing grated over the top of the soup after it's been served.
Ways to Add More Flavor to Your Soup
- Basil: Obviously. You can't have tomato basil soup without basil.
- Italian Seasonings: Oregano, thyme, and sage are all great choices. If you're not sure what to add specifically, you can always use an Italian seasoning mix.
- Bay Leaves: These have a rather strong flavor, but that taste complements tomatoes quite well. Many recipes suggest using a pair of bay leaves as a garnish.
- Salt and Pepper: Classics that need no introduction. Add as much or as little as you prefer.
- Garlic Powder: Only if you haven't already added garlic to the soup.
- Sugar: This one may seem a bit weird, but sugar is great at bringing out and enhancing the natural, sweet flavors in tomatoes.
More Tips for Making Tomato Basil Soup
As mentioned earlier, a longer simmer will help bring out the flavors of your soup. This affects when you should season it. If you're using dried seasonings, add them early so they have time to release their flavors into the soup. If you're using fresh herbs, though, add them close to the end of the process. This will preserve the intense, fresh flavor you want from quality ingredients.
If you're using butter, be aware that many types of butter are salted. This may change how much salt you choose to add to the soup.
As mentioned earlier, it's also a great idea to taste your soup as you go along. It may be hard for you to sense what's going on in your work-in-progress soup at first, but given enough practice, you should be able to sense when something is missing or when there's too much of one flavor that needs to be balanced out.
What kind of tomatoes work best in this soup?
For this recipe I use 3 lbs of tomatoes. Sometimes I like to use up the tomatoes I have on hand so I may mix medium sized tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. If you want to do something like that keep in mind that 15 – 20 cherry tomatoes equals about 1 lb and 3 medium tomatoes also equal 1 lb. So you could use 20 cherry tomatoes and 6 medium tomatoes or some combination that gets you to the 3 lb mark. Or just use a food scale to weight it all so you know you get it right.
How to serve
Serve this wonderful Easy Tomato Basil Soup with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper. it's also greta with a dollop of vegan ricotta and plenty of fresh bread available for dipping.
It is wonderful with my Miracle No Knead Focaccia on the side.
If you prefer a more traditional bread recipe there is always my Light Whole Wheat Bread, which is the one you can see in the photographs of the soup (except that one has some seeds added as an extra).
Tomato Basil Soup is also fab with grilled cheese sandwiches. Comfort food at it's finest! It's great in a Thermos for winter packed lunches too!