Basil pesto adds pizzazz to the flavorful blend of vegetables and herbs in this side-dish soup.
In a large saucepan, cook celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in butter until vegetables are tender, but not brown.
Add tomato juice, chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Place half of the soup in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover; blend or process until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Return all of the mixture to the saucepan. Stir in whipping cream and sugar; heat through. Stir in fresh basil. Ladle into warm soup bowls. Top each serving with some of the pesto and garnish with fresh basil leaves, if you like. Makes 8 side-dish servings.