Italian Bread Soup Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ingredients

5 1/2 inch slices Italian bread, crusts removed
3 TBSP 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, broken up with juices reserved
4 cups chicken stock
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. 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 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. Be careful, garlic burns easily.
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 thick. This will take about 30 minutes. Correct the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

This soup is good made the day ahead up to the point where you add the bread. Refrigerate, bring to a boil and stir in bread and stock and proceed as above.

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