Roasting the tomatoes and garlic gives this soup a deep tomato flavor and velvety texture.
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup olive oil, divided
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2-3 slices day old crusty bread, cut into cubes
Optional: fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade cut
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Crush the tomatoes with your hands onto a rimmed baking sheet. (Be careful because they will burst and send tomato juice flying everywhere.) Reserve the tomato juice in the can; scatter the garlic cloves over the tomatoes and drizzle everything with 1/4 cup oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, scraping up and turning the tomatoes halfway through cooking time, until garlic is very soft and tomatoes are well roasted, about 40 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften and brown a little, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add roasted tomato mixture, tomato juice, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup using an immersion blender until smooth.
- To make the croutons, toss the bread cubes in a bowl with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and toast for about 7 minutes until golden brown. Serve the soup garnished with the croutons and chopped basil. Serves 4.