Chef Mike's Rustic Bread & Tomato Soup

Taste of fall from restaurant Folio Weekly readers voted 'Best Italian'

Chef Mike's Rustic Bread & Tomato Soup
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 lb ripe cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- Large bunch of fresh basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt or Kosher salt
- 2 14 oz. cans good quality canned plum tomatoes
- 1 lb loaf stale good quality rustic Italian bread

Poke small holes in the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove
of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil,
sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven
at 350ºF for about 20 minutes. This will intensify the flavors.
Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil.
Stir around and gently fry for a minute until softened. Add your canned
tomatoes, then fill the cans with water and add to tomatoes. Break the tomatoes
up with a spoon, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Mix well
and season to taste. Tear in the remaining basil leaves and let the soup sit
on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done,
with juice bursting out of their skins, so remove them from the tray,
remembering to scrape all the tasty bits from the bottom. Pour them into the
soup with all the juices, basil and oil from the tray.
Stir the soup well to achieve a thick, silky texture, so add water if it's too thick.
Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive
oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the
top if you like. When finished it should have an intense sweet tomato basil