For me this soup will always conjure warm memories of four college girls crowded around a table in a chilly apartment in rome. When I studied there with a few of my best friends we saved our pennies for travel, wine, and the occasional pizza from the shop downstairs. On rainy days I would make big kettles of this soup for just a few euros and we would stuff ourselves with it while we imbibed in jugged red wine. Because the main ingredients are used in equal parts, it's really easy to scale this recipe based on the number of people you're serving, or how hungry you are. This one's for my girls, Mary, Andrea and Brooke! xx —lisina
good chicken stock (preferably homemade)
crushed san marzano tomatoes
or so of hard crust italian bread, dried and cut into cubes
Heat the olive oil over medium in the bottom of a soup kettle, and add the garlic. When the garlic starts to color, add the bread and stir, getting the bread to soak up the flavor of the garlic oil.
Add the tomatoes and some salt. Again, let the bread act as a sponge to soak up all the tomatoey goodness. Once the bread has absorbed most of the tomato, add the chicken stock and the basil.
Bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, and partially cover the pot. The bread will start to break down, and the soup will become more homogenous. Stir occasionally to make sure the tomato isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot and massage the bread with your spoon a bit to help it break down.
After the soup has worked for about an hour or so and has a relatively uniform consistency, taste to check for seasoning, and serve piping hot.