Tuscan Pommodoro Soup (Rustic Tomato Bread Soup)
The quintessence of the Italian countryside is enveloped in this chunky tomato soup. Caramelized onions draw out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and ample fresh basil is a must. Traditionally, the soup is served with stale, open-faced bread to soak up the flavor and hold a beautiful body. Keeps well and is almost better the second day. Delicious any time of year, but especially in late summer when tomatoes and basil are at their best.
Yields: 6-8 servings
2-1/2 cups peeled and diced yellow onion
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup or organic sugar
2-4 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
4 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced with their juiced
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth or filtered water if necessary
½ loaf stale or lightly toasted open-faced bread, torn into pieces (optional)
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
¼ cup olive oil
Place onion and olive oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, or until onions are very soft, translucent and caramelized.
Add balsamic, maple or sugar and garlic and continue to cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, and juices. Stir together and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to concentrate the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add vegetable broth or water and bring to a simmer again.
Remove the crust of the bread if it is too thick and tough. Tear into pieces and fold into soup. Allow to stand until bread absorbs liquid. Add more vegetable broth or water if the soup becomes too thick.
Remove the soup from the heat and cool a touch.
Tear basil leaves and stir into soup with additional olive oil. Allow to cool to serving temperature to let the bread absorb the flavors of the basil and olive oil.
Drizzle each serving with olive oil, a pinch of coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Store in a sealed container or jar in the fridge.