This tomato soup tastes smooth and creamy despite it's lack of cream, or any dairy at all (although, I added a few drops as a garnish). It is also surprisingly filling. A perfectly healthy and delicious soup for the fall and winter.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling, divided1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, to make it vegetarian
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Using a potato masher, mash tomatoes until pieces are no bigger than 2 inches. Stir in sugar and bread. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bread begins to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and discard.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and blend soup using an immersion blender, until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and brandy, return soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with grilled cheese. Makes roughly 4-6 servings.