What I love about Nora Pouillon’s version of this Tuscan dish is that she keeps its rustic character. She doesn’t peel the tomatoes nor does she strain away the seeds. It’s a straightforward and delicious recipe that’s really quick to make, too. There’s bread in the soup, so just serve a tossed salad on the side. Adapted from Restaurant Nora, Washington, DC — Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown
The soup can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add stock or water if the soup needs thinning after reheating.
Add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest along with the garlic.
Substitute crushed red pepper flakes for the black pepper.
Don’t be stingy with the salt in this dish. There’s a large amount of very bland bread serving as the thickening agent and unless you salt the soup sufficiently the wonderful ripe tomato flavor won’t sing in your mouth.
Combine the tomatoes and stock in a 4-quart soup pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the garlic begins to brown.
Stir the garlic and bread cubes into the soup and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the bread falls apart.
Stir in the basil and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, passing the cheese separately at the table.