Bel's Tomato Bisque
2 Tablespoons butter or oil
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can whole tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock is also excellent, and more traditional)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoons chopped basil (or 1 tsp pesto)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 cup heavy cream)
several dashes of tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
Garnish: thinly sliced basil leaves or minced parsley
Melt butter in a large saucepan and stir in the onions and garlic.
Saute until soft and golden over medium-low heat.
Pour in the entire can of tomatoes, stock, rice, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for about 30-35 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender, solids first, then pour back into the saucepan.
Stir in the half-and-half, splash in the hot pepper sauce, and taste for seasoning.
Heat the soup just to a boil, then ladle into bowls.
Garnish with sliced basil leaves or minced parsley.