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Whether you’re doing Veganuary this year or simply want a nourishing, hearty bowl of soul food to warm your cockles, Stanley Tucci’s Tuscan tomato soup is certain to bring a little sunshine to your life.
Ingredients: (serves four)
For the soup
- Four tins of plum tomatoes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
- ½ litre vegetable stock, warm
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups dry Italian bread, cut into cubes
This soup is ideal for winter because it doesn’t require fresh tomatoes, however, it is wise to buy the best quality tinned tomatoes available to you. Also, be sure to buy whole ones as you can be certain of the contents – tinned chopped tomatoes sometimes contain excess of stems and lack firmness.
Also, be patient with this soup as the slow simmer creates a depth and sweetness of flavour you simply won’t achieve in a hurry.
- For the soup, empty the tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them with your hands. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallot, and garlic, and cook until they begin to soften—you do not want them to colour. Stir in the tomatoes and two-thirds of the basil leaves and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the stock and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes.
- For the croutons, in a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, fry the bread cubes until golden brown, setting them aside as you go. When they’re all done, drizzle them with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- Serve the finished soup topped with the croutons and garnish with basil. Place the leftover croutons in a serving dish on the table for replenishing.