Tomato and Eggplant Soup 6.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post

Oct 25, 2018

Ina Garten says all the flavors of a good marinara sauce are in this hearty soup.

She offers this stabilizing technique for dicing the eggplant (and other round vegetables): Cut in half lengthwise, then place each half cut side down on the cutting board.

To read the accompanying story, see: What is it about Ina Garten?

Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound purple eggplant (unpeeled), cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 cups cored, chopped fennel bulb (from 1 large bulb)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (at least 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 cups homemade or good-quality chicken broth
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 teaspoons dried fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the eggplant; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. You may need to add a little more oil if the eggplant is sticking, and/or you may need to cook the eggplant in two batches. (If you do the latter, make sure to return all of it to the pot before proceeding.)

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then stir in the onions and chopped fennel bulb; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened but not browned. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant, then add broth, crushed tomatoes, fennel seed, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes, the salt (to taste) and 2 teaspoons of black pepper.

Pour the can of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices into a food processor; pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Stir that blended mixture into the pot; once the liquid starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes (uncovered), stirring occasionally.

Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed. Serve hot, in large bowls, sprinkled with the cheese and drizzled with a little oil.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks," by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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