4 T. unsalted butter
4 T. flour
1 t. baking soda
2 C. milk
1 28-oz. can of whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cracked pepper
1/2 t. celery seed (optional) You can also substitute 1/2 C finely chopped celery, lightly sauted.
1/2 chopped onion, lightly sauted (optional)
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Let the mixture (which is a roux, by the way) cook for a few minutes till it??s light golden brown in color. Whisk in the baking soda; then add the milk and whisk well to blend. You??ve just made bchamel (white) sauce! Let the sauce cook for several more minutes till it thickens. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice and the tomato paste and season with salt, pepper, celery seed, and cooked onions. Switch to a spoon and keep stirring well to make sure the soup doesn??t stick or burn. (The tomatoes will gunk up your whisk.) Heat the soup through, garnish with fresh parsley or dried herbs and serve with toasted cheese sandwiches or your favorite accompaniment.
This soup is thick and chunky. If you wish, you can puree it in a blender. It??s also delicious cold.