homemade tomato soup

I love the tomato soup they have at Zupa's, and I've been trying to figure out how to make it at home. Not sure if it's exact, but it's pretty darn good if I do say so myself! If you like tomato soup, this will make you never want it from the can again...even my kids love it! I took two tomato soup recipes and sort of meshed them, leaving things out and adding things in as I went. Anyway, here it is. I hope you like it!

Homemade Tomato Soup

1/4 c. butter
1 onion, chopped
4 {14 oz} cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 {6 oz} can tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 can chicken broth
1 c. cream

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and saute until they are soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cream. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes just to get the flavors going, then blend the soup with either an immersion blender or by doing batches in a regular blender. When it is all pureed, stir in the cream. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and homemade croutons.

Homemade Croutons

one nice French baguette
olive oil
pinch of oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt

Roughly chop the bread into bite-sized pieces. Toss the pieces into a saucepan over medium-high heat, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir occasionally until the bread is nice and toasty all around.

{I could eat the whole pan myself...}