Servings: Makes 6 servings
To make soup:
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, score the bottom of each fresh tomato with an X. Add tomatoes to boiling water and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until skin at the X begins to peel back. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes and immediately place in bowl of ice water. Let stand until cool. Peel tomatoes
Halve tomatoes lengthwise and squeeze juice and seeds through a sieve set over a bowl. Repeat with canned tomatoes. Stir seeds to further release juices. The juice should measure 2 cups; add water if necessary and set aside.
In a food processor with metal blade attached, roughly chop fresh and canned tomatoes.
In a 4-quart soup pot, combine olive oil, onion, garlic, 1/2-teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat until onion is tender but not brown, about 12 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato juice and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, to make basil ricotta: In a food processor with metal blade attached, roughly chop basil leaves. Add ricotta and salt, and process until smooth.
To make basil puree:
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Stir basil leaves into boiling water and cook 20 seconds. Drain basil and immediately place in bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Squeeze basil by hand to remove water.
In a food processor with metal blade attached, finely chop basil. Add olive oil and salt; process until pureed. Pour puree into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Twenty minutes before serving, place bread cubes in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove bread from water and squeeze to remove moisture. Whisk bread into soup and simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season soup with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve soup hot and drizzled with additional olive oil and basil ricotta. Or serve cold with basil puree and grated ricotta salata.
From the January 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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