There's a restaurant near my house that serves a tomato basil soup with Italian sausage that is wonderful. Unfortunately, they will not disclose much about the ingredients . . . although, we do know it has a milk/cream base. My brother and I have spent time over the past six months trying to come up with a version that is similar. Next we want to develop a version without the dairy.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Italian Sausage
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Italian seasoned, preferably)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 ½ c low fat milk
½ c heavy cream
15-20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Add the sausage and cook until browned and cook thoroughly.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Wochestershire sauce, dried basil, and dried oregano. Cook for 5-10 minutes to reduce slightly.
Stir in milk and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped fresh basil during the final 5 minutes. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and a little chopped fresh basil.