It's still hot here, but there's definitely cooler weather in the wind. Summer's on its way out, taking with it the warm, fresh flavors of summer produce. This fragrant soup is perfect for the fading season -- the tomatoes, basil and onions are full of summer flavors, but the warmth of the soup is comforting during cool September thunderstorms. It's hearty and filling on its own, but is also great paired with sandwiches.
Pappa al pomodoro
from The Joy of Cooking Page-A-Day Calendar
2-3 thick slices country bread
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic
1/3 c tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, or one 28-oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (I reserve the liquid to add later)
pinch red pepper flakes
2 c chicken or vegetable stock
fresh basil and parmesan cheese to garnish
Dry bread slices in 200 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a soup pot, over medium heat. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until beginning to color, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, rub the bread on both sides with 1 garlic clove.
Coarsely chop 4 cloves garlic and 1/3 c basil leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the garlic/basil mixture, and cook until the garlic barely colors, 2-3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and pinch of red pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until thick and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Stir in vegetable stock. Add reserved liquid from tomatoes if needed.
Boil for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. break up the bread in the bottom of the soup bowls. Ladle in the hot soup and top each serving with torn basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan cheese (or parsley, if you're out of basil like I was).
Serve hot or at room temperature.
6 hours ago