Chef Fabio Trabocchi says he was served this traditional Tuscan soup often as a young man
in Italy. "Now, my kids love it," he says. At his Fiola restaurant, the soup is paired with Buffalo Mozzarella Toast (see related recipe).
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small (2 ounces) onion, chopped
- 1 medium clove garlic, cut into thin slices
- 3 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (see NOTE)
- 2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- 6 ounces day-old Italian country bread, cut or torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, reducing the heat as needed to prevent burning.
Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low (if needed) so the liquid is barely bubbling around the edges. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften.
Add the broth, using a wooden spoon to incorporate. Add the bread chunks and stir once; cook until the bread has absorbed as much of the liquid as possible to form a soup that is thick but not solid.
Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately in warmed soup bowls, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.
NOTE: To peel tomatoes, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Cut an "X" in the bottom of the tomato and remove the stem. Place in the boiling water for 10 or 15 seconds -- no longer. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer to the ice water. The skin should simply slip off.
From Fabio Trabocchi, chef-owner of Fiola restaurant in Penn Quarter.
Tested by Doris Truong.
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