Soup Pappa al Pomodoro
- 5 pounds tomatoes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/2 pound stale, crustless 1-inch Italian bread cubes (4 cups)
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn
- Ricotta cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut a slit in the base of each tomato. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and blanch just until the skins start to split, about 10 seconds. Transfer the blanched tomatoes to the ice water to cool.
Peel and half the tomatoes crosswise. Working over a mesh strainer set over a large bowl, pry out the seeds and press the tomato juice and pulp through the strainer. Discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Wipe out the pot and heat the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and season with salt. Cover partially and simmer over moderately high heat until tomatoes have cooked down, about 30 minutes.
Add the bread and the reserved tomato juices to the soup and cook, mashing the bread until fully incorporated, and season with salt. Stir in the basil leaves. Spoon the soup into shallow bowls, drizzle lightly with olive oil, top with a dollop of ricotta and serve right away.