Today we are making soup, Napels style. It may look a bit boring, but I can assure you, this is an absolutely heavenly tomato soup, all velvety and rich in flavor. The secret is to oven roast the tomatoes first.
- 12 (about 1.2 kg) roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 each onions, carrots, celery stalks and garlic cloves, chopped
- 400 gr can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 basil sprig, plus extra leaves to garnish
- 1 l vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place roma tomatoes, cut-side up, on a baking tray. Top with sugar, drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 30 minutes until softened.
Add cherry tomatoes to the tray, drizzle with a little more oil and season. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly charred and softened. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook onion, carrot, celery and garlic, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, basil, stock, roasted roma tomato and any cooking juices. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Discard basil sprig, cool slightly, then blend the soup in batches. Pass through a sieve into the pan, then cook over low heat, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until warmed through. Adjust the seasoning.
You can add a lot of different garnishes to this soup. We often have melting bocconcini and roasted cherry tomatoes with it. Place the bocconcini on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 2 minutes until just warm and lightly melted (do not overcook or the cheese will melt completely). The roasted cherry tomatoes are made by adding them to the oven appr 10 minutes before the roma tomatoes are done. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and scoop molten bocconcini into each one. Garnish with the roasted cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, drizzle with oil.