If your tomato plants are groaning under the weight of all their ripe fruit, or even if you’ve just got some over-ripe tomatoes to use up, then this is a great soup to have up your sleeve. As long as your tomatoes are really ripe you’ll end up with a wonderfully sweet soup no matter what type of tomatoes you’ve used. The basil oil is also great for drizzling over salads, pastas or pizzas so if you want to keep it for a couple of weeks, just strain it through a sieve and store it in a sterile jar.
To make the basil oil, put a few of the basil leaves in a bowl of cold water for later, then place the rest in a mortar. Add a pinch of salt and use a pestle to bash the basil leaves until they have broken down into a dark green paste. Transfer the paste to a jug and add your extra virgin olive oil. Mix together well.
To make the soup, add a lug of olive oil to your biggest pan over a medium heat. Add the basil stalks to the pan with the sliced garlic. Fry for about a minute then add all the tomatoes. Stir in 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a medium heat and let the tomatoes cook for 5 minutes until they are slightly broken down. If your tomatoes are nice and ripe they’ll be naturally sweet and soft, which means you won’t need to cook the soup for too long.
Remove the soup from the heat, add a splash of red wine vinegar then carefully blitz with a hand blender until you get a consistency that’s to your liking.
Serve in warm bowls with a spoonful of bright green basil oil swirled on top and sprinkled with the reserved basil leaves. You can even eat any leftovers cold from the fridge for a really fresh, light soup.