8Roma tomatoespeeled & diced, or one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
2Tbl. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
3cupschicken brothuse vegetable broth for vegetarian version
salt & pepper to taste
Fresh Basil Pestosee recipe link in post
Baked Mozzarella Cheese Stickssee recipe link in post
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion, carrot and celery until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté an additional minute.
Dust veggie mixture with flour and stir to combine.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, sugar and broth. Bring soup to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or working in batches, puree the soup leaving some texture. Stir in the milk and reheat on low without allowing to boil.
Serve in soup bowls with a swirl of fresh basil pesto and a side of mozzarella dunkers.
Total time for Mozzarella Dunkers is 1 hour 30 minutes, but can be prepared ahead and baked just before serving.