To make a copycat Panera tomato soup, combine 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon crushed garlic and 2 cups broth. Boil this for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Slowly add 1 cup cream. Mix in fresh basil.
Alternatively, sauté 4 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 30 seconds. Add 1 sliced onion, and cook for 8 minutes. Add 56 ounces of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, 1 cup chicken stock and 2 tablespoons sugar. Simmer the mixture uncovered for 12 minutes. Add 1/4 cup half and half, 8 fresh chopped basil leaves and 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Blend the soup until smooth, and then serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches or French bread.
A third variation uses tomatoes roasted with balsamic vinegar, as well as roasted garlic. To make it, sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 minced cloves garlic in 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter. Add 8 roasted tomatoes and 1 head roasted garlic, and cook for five minutes. Add 1/2 cup fresh, chopped parsley, 3 cups broth, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 piece of toasted and cubed whole wheat bread. Simmer this for 20 to 25 minutes. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, then blend the soup.