By far, the majority of my recipes are found on the internet, through other blogs, random google searches, or the trusty allrecipes.com. While I do appreciate the ease of the internet, I love the Williams Sonoma Cookbook. It is beautifully organized with pictures of each dish (a must!) and it teaches basic steps for delicious meals (if only I had time to make everything). The cover of this book represents the essential ingredients in all good cooking: olive oil, eggs, garlic, salt, fresh herbs, lemon, and parmesan cheese. I feel pretty confident that almost every basic dish is made better with these ingredients.
So, tomato soup. I kind of love it. I feel like it's the perfect combination between a brothy soup and a creamy soup. Pair it with some good bread or grilled cheese sandwiches, and you've got yourself a full meal. There's another secret about tomato soup. A lot of recipes (like this one) can be re-purposed into a delicious pasta sauce. This recipe is quite delicious, especially when served with toasted french bread at the bottom of the bowl. MMM!
From The Williams Sonoma Cookbook
6-8 slices french bread, each 1 inch thick
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, then diced*
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves, plus 6-8 whole leaves, for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
*Click here for instructions on how to peel and seed tomatoes. If you're in a hurry (like I always am) replace 1.5 lbs., or all of the fresh tomatoes, with canned, crushed tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, turning once, 10-15 minutes total. Set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the tomatoes are softened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Using an immersion or standing blender, purée the soup, leaving a little bit of texture if desired. Return the soup to the pot, if needed, and reheat gently over medium heat. If soup feels too thin, add bread crumbs until soup reaches desired texture. Add the chopped basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each warmed bowl and sprinkle with a spoonful of parmesan cheese. Ladle the soup on top, garnish with a basil leaf, and serve at once.