Denise says:

This is a delicious Italian soup recipe that is made with store cupboard ingredients. Originally it was created to use up stale bread but if you do not have any, just place the bread in the oven for 5 minutes and this will achieve the desired effect of thickening the soup. Ripe plum tomatoes when in season provide the best flavour, but as their season fades, you can substitute the fresh for tinned. Plum tomatoes are oval-shaped and smaller that the average but they have less liquid and firmer flesh.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8 people


6 tablespoons olive oil
½ red chilli – de seeded and finely chopped – optional
175g stale bread – cut into cubes
2 onions – peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
1kg ripe plum tomatoes – peeled and chopped or 3 tins 400g peeled plum tomatoes – chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons fresh basil
2 litres vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Extra virgin olive oil
Sprigs of fresh basil
Croutons for garnish


1)Pre- heat the oven to 200 C/400F/ Gas mark 6.
2)Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over the cubed bread. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3)Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic, chilli – if using and cook until they soften. Stir in the tomatoes, bread (leave some for garnish), sugar and basil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4)Cook over a moderate heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5)Add the stock to the tomato mixture, bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
6)Liquidise or puree 3 ladles of the soup and return to the saucepan.
7)Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

To serve the stylish way: Swirl a little extra virgin olive oil onto the soup and garnish with some sprigs of fresh basil and reserved croutons.