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Ina Garten's Creamy Tomato Bisque

Ina Garten's Creamy Tomato Bisque
Quentin Bacon / Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Isn't a steaming bowl of tomato soup the ultimate comfort food? While heating up a can of tomato soup may do in a pinch, the real thing is so much better — with slowly sautéed onions and leeks plus good Italian tomatoes and a hint of saffron. You'll never go back to that can again!

Technique tip: To make ahead, prepare the soup completely and refrigerate. Reheat over medium-low heat, adding milk or water as needed to make the soup the desired consistency.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • good olive oil
  • cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 cup chopped leek, white and light green parts, washed and spun-dry
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated Italian Parmesan, for garnish
  • minced fresh parsley, for garnish



Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (11-inch) pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat.


Add the onion, shallots and leek, and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.


Add the tomatoes, milk, cream, saffron, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt and 1½ teaspoons black pepper.


Raise the heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended and the soup is slightly thickened.


Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with the Parmesan and parsley.