This was adapted from a recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt who writes for one of my favorite web sites: Serious Eats. It is delicious on its own, but I also like it as a base for any additions like roasted mushrooms or tofu. It’s also vegan if you leave out the cheese garnish.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 slices white bread, crusts removed and torn into 1-inch pieces
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2-1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For garnish: Chopped chives, freshly grated pecorino cheese and more olive oil
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, oregano, fennel seed and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until onion are softened but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add bread and tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes with potato masher or whisk. Add stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer soup to a blender. Blend soup starting at low speed. You may have to do in two batches. With blender running, gradually add remaining olive to form a smooth emulsion. Season soup to your taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls and top with chives, pecorino and more olive oil.