Zuppa per Settembre (September Soup With Croutons) 4.000
Sep 27, 2006

This soup brings out the best in late-season tomatoes and sweet bell peppers. You can also serve this chilled, with a dollop of creme fraiche on top.

Servings: 4 - 6

Yield: Makes 6 first-course servings or 4 main-course servings

  • For the soup
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes cored, quartered lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 pound red, yellow or orange bell peppers, or a combination, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 red or yellow onions, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges each
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 6 large basil leaves, sliced into fine strips or coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups best-quality low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • For the croutons
  • 4 cups rustic country bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (may substitute whole-wheat bread)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and garlic in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Season with the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme and basil. Add the olive oil and turn the vegetables to coat evenly. Roast for 45 minutes, turning the vegetables once every 15 minutes to ensure that they are tender and are well browned in places. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooling, make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over them and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (for whole-wheat croutons, omit the pepper), and distribute the cubes in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, or until the croutons are evenly browned and crisp. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a blender or food processor, puree the cooled soup vegetables, their juices and the chicken broth until it is all incorporated (you may have to work in batches). Strain the soup to remove any bits of peel.

Place the soup in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm through over medium-low heat. Add the cream, stir to combine, reduce the heat to low and cook until just warmed through. Serve warm with the croutons on the side, or cover tightly and refrigerate.

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Recipe Source

Recipe adapted from Domenica Marchetti's "The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy" (Chronicle Books, 2006).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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