Friday, September 12, 2008

Tomato Bread Soup

As a nip arrives in the air, I think of hearty end of summer tomato soups, versions of which are plentiful in Tuscany at this time of year. This is one of our favorites. It is a meal in itself and lovely with a big Tuscan red.

Tomato Bread Soup
6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 2" or larger chunk of parmigiano-reggiano rind
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 quart homemade chicken stock or water
2 cups stale bread, in smaller cubes
Handful of torn basil leaves
Grated Parmigiano-reggiano for garnish

In a large soup pot, place olive oil and onions. Sweat over medium low heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, crushing them through your fingers as they fall into the pot. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, and cheese rind. Cook until heated through.

About 10 minutes.

Turn heat up to medium. Add chicken stock or water and allow to boil vigorously for five minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Turn heat to low once again and add the stale bread cubes. Stir until all bread cubes are coated and allow to cook five minutes more. Remove the pot from the heat. Place the lid on the soup pot and allow to sit off the heat for the ten minutes, stirring a couple of times during the rest to be sure the bread is saturating and entirely softened.

Just before serving, add the basil and stir to combine. Remove the bay leaves and cheese rind before serving. Serve in soup bowls, well garnished with Parmigiano-reggiano grated over the top of each bowl with a microplane.

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