Tuscan Tomato Soup

Variation: This soup can be strained and thinned with light cream for a more elegant presentation. Stir a teaspoon of pesto into each bowl of soup and top with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

4 carrots, peeled and finely diced

4 stalks celery, finely diced

3 medium onions, minced

3 quarts canned tomatoes with juice or 14 large, ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

6 leaves fresh basil (optional)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Croutons, for serving, recipe follows

Directions

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven. Cook the carrots, celery, and onions for about 20 minutes, or until very tender. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over moderate heat for 25 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley and basil, season with salt and pepper, cook a minute or so longer, and serve hot with croutons.
  1. Croutons:
  2. 1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat (a French nonstick baking mat) or parchment paper; set aside.
  3. Place the garlic on a clean work surface. Sprinkle with salt. Using the side of a large knife, rub the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Transfer to a small bowl, and add oil, pepper, and cheese. Stir to combine. Spread the mixture onto the bread slices and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Yield: 8 servings
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