“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”
Auguste Escoffier

As this Advent Calendar of Comfort & Joy winds down (only one more “window” to open!), I thought I’d share another of my favorite soup recipes. After all, nothing provides comfort in the winter like a bowl of hot soup.

This soup is a slightly modified version of the recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Spinach Pesto from Diane Phillips’ Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever. (The biggest modification is that I skip the pesto entirely.) It is super easy (as in . . . you won’t believe how easy). It is delicious. And it’s a bit on the decadent side (which is where more of my modifications come into play, because maybe a bit too decadent).

If you like tomato soups – and especially tomato bisque or creamy tomato soup, this one is for you! I usually serve it with crusty bread and slices of cheese (and a glass of wine), but it’s also very nice with grilled cheese sandwiches. Or a green salad. I’m sure the pesto topping that the recipe calls for as a garnish would be very good, too. But usually, when I make this soup, it’s because I have a hectic day planned and I need an easy dinner I can start early and not worry about for the rest of the day. And making pesto just doesn’t fit into my plans on days like that.

Quick. Easy. Delicious.
What more could you want?

(Oh. It also reheats well, and makes enough for several leftover meals. So . . . a winner all around.)

Roasted Tomato Soup (without the spinach pest0)
Diane Phillips

(with Kym’s modifications noted)


  • 2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, drained (I do not drain the tomatoes; I also look for San Marzano tomatoes if I can find them, but I can’t always find them)
  • 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil (I use the Italian Herb Mix from Penzeys; I don’t measure it actually, I just kind of toss a bunch in and it works)
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (see note on the dried basil)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (I use more than a pinch for us, but this soup would be fine without red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream (I sub in half-&-half here)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese works just fine here; I can’t always find Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese where I shop)


Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, basil, marjoram, onion, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, and broth in the insert of a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for at least 6 hours (I often go for 8 hours), until the tomatoes and onion are softened. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup, or cool the soup and purée it in a blender or food processor. (I use an immersion blender and it works just great – and right in the crock pot.)

Whisk in the ricotta, cream, and cheese.

Cover the cooker and turn it to the “warm” setting. Allow the soup to come to serving temperature (the retained heat in the cooker will heat the cheese and cream, without it separating).

NOTE: If you did want to add spinach pesto, the recipe calls for you to garnish the soup with dollops of the pesto. There is a recipe for the spinach pesto in the cookbook, but I have omitted it. (It is a standard pesto recipe.)

If you’re wondering what this “advent calendar” is all about, you can read my “intro” post here.