© David Loftus
bread and tomato soup
This Tuscan soup is delicious – it’s a soup everyone should try. Just thinking of it makes me salivate! It’s a family-friendly soup – babies and grandparents (both without teeth!) can eat it with gusto. I’ve added roasted cherry tomatoes to my recipe but it also works really well just with canned tomatoes. The great thing is that it takes only 20 minutes to cook, so go for it! PS. Use a stale white country-style loaf – not cheap sliced white factory bread.
Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting pan, and cook in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes. The reason for doing this is so that their flavor becomes intense and concentrated.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil stems. Stir around and gently fry for a minute, until softened. Add your canned tomatoes, then fill the can with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Mix well and season to taste.
Tear in the basil leaves and let the soup sit on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done, with juice bursting out of their skins, so remove them from the pan, remembering to scrape all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Pour them into the soup with all the juices, basil, and oil from the pan.
Give the soup a good stir – you’re looking to achieve a thick, silky, porridgy texture, so feel free to adjust it with a little water. Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the top if you like. The most important thing with this soup is that you have a wonderfully intense sweet tomato basil flavor.
• about 1 lb• ripe cherry tomatoes
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a large bunch of fresh basil, leaves
picked, stems finely chopped
• the best extra virgin olive oil you can find
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 14-oz• cans of good-quality plum tomatoes
• about 1 lb• or 2 large handfuls of stale good-quality bread