ACTIVE: 30 MINUTES TOTAL: 1 1/4 HOURS
RECIPE BY Alison Roman
PHOTOGRAPH BY Christina Holmes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
10 sprigs thyme, tied together
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1–2 teaspoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup (or more) heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add thyme, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is completely soft and translucent, 10–12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato paste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until paste has begun to caramelize in spots, 5–6 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, 1 tsp. sugar, and 8 cups water to pot. Increase heat to high; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until flavors meld and soup reduces to about 2 quarts (8 cups), 45–55 minutes. Remove soup from heat; let cool slightly. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot. DO AHEAD Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly, cover, and chill. Rewarm before continuing.
Stir in 1/4 cup cream. Simmer soup until flavors meld, 10–15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 tsp. sugar. Add more cream, if desired.
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