A fabulous soup bringing the Mediterranean right to your table. Full of the robust and vibrant flavours of ripe tomatoes and basil melded with delicious ciabatta bread this is a real crowd pleaser. It can be reheated after the fact to suit a quick lunch or family feast.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. I use a food processor and whizz the shallots, carrots and garlic to a fine dice before tipping into a large saucepan with a generous splosh of olive oil. You of course can do the whole lot by hand. It will be pureed later so no need to go crazy with the chopping.
Simmer gently away for five mins or so until the whole lot is softened. Meanwhile wash the tomatoes and chop in half. I use my thumbs to push out all the seeds into a bowl and then chop the remaining tomato flesh into quarters into another bowl. Give the tomatoes a generous seasoning of salt and a mix through.
Pour the wine and stock into the saucepan before adding the pepper, sugar and basil. Give the whole lot a stir through and simmer away for a few mins. Add the now seedless tomatoes and leave again to bubble gently away but this time for about 15 minutes.
In batches puree this tomato mixture in a food processor and return to the saucepan. Add the tomato juice and chunks of ciabatta. I use a potato masher to break the bread down into the soup but a wooden spoon would suffice. Season carefully to taste.
Garnish with a generous amount of Parmesan Cheese and Croutons.
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