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Recipe

Rustic Tomato Soup With Basil Oil And Croustades

Not exactly like Mama might make it, but wow, this soup could star at your next dinner party.

  • Yield: About 4 quarts
Rustic Tomato Soup With Basil Oil And Croustades

Ingredients

  • For the Tomato soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced lengthwise (root to stem) into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • Four 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained, crushed with your hands
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock or packaged low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large sprigs fresh basil
  • One 3-inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • For the Croustades

  • 8 cups torn bite-size pieces of rustic bread, such as ciabatta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Basil oil

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Directions

  • Start the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for 3 minutes longer.
  • Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a 6-quart slow cooker and add the tomatoes, chicken stock, thyme and basil sprigs, the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and the Parmesan rind.
  • Cook on high for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • While the soup is cooking, make the croustades: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the torn bread pieces on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss with your hands to evenly distribute the oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and bake until golden brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • To make the basil oil, combine the olive oil, basil leaves, and minced garlic in a blender or processor. Process in short bursts until the leaves are finely chopped—don’t over-process or the leaves will lose their bright green color. Transfer to a small bowl and season to taste with salt.
  • When you are ready to serve the soup, remove and discard the Parmesan rind and thyme sprigs. The basil sprigs should be very soft and can be left in or discarded, as preferred. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Ladle the soup into wide shallow bowls and garnish with some of the croustades and Parmesan shavings. Drizzle the basil oil over the soup to taste, and then sprinkle with pepper.