Tomato and Bread Soup
Five 1/2 inch slices Italian bread, crusts removed
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely diced onions
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and juice reserved or one 35-ounce can
Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice,
4 cups chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast
until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the
onions and cook , stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and
cook until golden, about 6 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring
occasionally. Add the toasted bread and stock and return to a boil. Season
lightly with salt and pepper, then add the basil leaves and adjust the level of
heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, whisking occasionally to break up the pieces
of bread, until the mixture is dense and silky, about 40 minutes.
If desired, remove the garlic cloves and basil leaves. Pass the soup through a
fine sieve, forcing the solids through with a ladle. (If necessary, first pass
the soup through a food mill fitted with the fine disc). Correct the seasoning.
Serve in warm bowls, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.