Blanched the tomatoes first to remove the skins and roasted them with cipollini onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar. You can roast, then de-skin, but I find you lose too much precious tomato with that method. Next I whisked together a roux with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, just to thicken it a tad. You can even skip this step and not miss a thing. Puree the tomatoes, add some vegetable stock (homemade), and have some crusty Parmesan croutons for dipping.
3 ½ pounds dry-farmed, early girl tomatoes
4 cipollini onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons high-quality, aged balsamic vinegar
2 cups tomato stock (I used stock from my tomato sauce, but you can use vegetable stock)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 rustic baguette, sliced
A few leaves of basil to garnish
½ – 1 cup Stella parmesan, grated (Stella is a softer, creamier domestic parmesan, and perfect for melting.)
*optional: If your tomatoes aren’t early girls, you may want to add 1/2 tablespoon organic sugar–but taste before adding it.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly cut an “X” into the bottom of the tomatoes, just cutting through the skin. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Remove the skins, cut each tomato in half and place in a deep roasting dish. Some people may want to remove the seeds, but seeds don’t bother me.
Add onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar and a generous swirl of olive oil to the roasting dish, stir to combine Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Place tomato mixture in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Heat up a cast-iron dutch oven on medium heat and melt butter. When it starts to bubble, add the flour and whisk continuously until it turns a light golden brown. Add pureed tomatoes to the roux and stir. Add stock and turn heat to medium-low. Let cook for 15 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
Lower oven to 350F. Drizzle baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Switch to the broiler and broil for one more minute, or until cheese is golden.
Dip toasty, cheesy bread in the hot soup. Garnish with chopped basil.