Serve this classic with chunky homemade croutons by cubing rustic levain or baguette, tossing it with olive oil, salt and optional fresh chopped herbs, and toasting in a low oven for a few minutes.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
¼ cup all–purpose flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) reduced–sodium chicken broth
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice with basil if available
In a saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add oil and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook one minute. Add thyme, broth and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with a fork or potato masher. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs before blending.
Puree soup in pot with an immersion blender. Or, working in several batches, puree half of the soup in a conventional blender until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with croutons.