3 TBS butter
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. baby carrots, finely diced
1 c. celery heart, finely diced
1/4 c. unbleached flour
3 - 14.5 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with liquid
4 c. organic chicken broth
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn, stems removed
1 c. shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 c. heavy cream (whipping cream)
Melt butter in 4 quart sauce pan on medium heat. When melted, add onion, garlic, carrots & celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables & stir in until all lumps have disappeared.
Pour in tomatoes & liquid, stirring to blend well. Gradually stir in chicken broth, stirring constantly & scraping bottom well. Blend in tomato paste & crushed red pepper. Raise liquid just to a simmer. Cook covered until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring often.
Transfer 3/4 of the soup to food processor; add the fresh basil & shredded cheese. Puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan.
Add the heavy cream and cook until the soup is just heated through.
Ladle into bowls; serve with crusty Asiago Cheese Bread & additional shredded cheese to top.