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Tuscan Tomato Soup

One of my favorite soups ever, comes from a place called The Bread Garden in Iowa City, IA. The soup is called Tuscan Tomato, and I always loved the texture and creaminess of the soup- but could never quite put my finger on the secret ingredient that made it so special. Well soup fans, the day has come (in fact it came about 4 years ago- but now the day has come to tell you). The secret ingredient to the best tomato soup you will ever have is... bread. Apparently this soup is also called Pappa al pomodoro and it is a traditional Tuscan soup. I just figured that out, so the recipe that I created isn't exactly what your Nonna would be making you, but I was pretty damn close, and it was delicious. I always like to use recipes as a rough guideline anyways which is why I constantly fail as a baker.

This soup is very simple, takes few ingredients and is very hearty, delicious and its vegan! Tuscan Tomato Soup serves- 8-10

Ingredients: -3 tablespoons avocado oil -1 onion, diced -2 carrots, diced -5 cloves of garlic, crushed

-2 quarts canned tomatoes with juice -3 cups chicken broth -3-4 cups stale, or toasted bread, cut into small pieces (I prefer sourdough) -Herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme and parsley... whatever you have fresh -Crushed red pepper, to taste -Salt, to taste

-Olive oil, for drizzling DIRECTIONS -Heat oil in a stock pot, add onions and carrots. Saute over a medium heat until onions are translucent. -Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper & garlic. Give it a couple of stirs, let it simmer for about a minute, whilst stirring. -Add broth & herbs. Bring it back to a simmer, and add the bread. -Let simmer for about 20 minutes or so. -At this point, I used an immersion blender (carefully) and incorporated the bread into the soup. After looking at some other recipes they recommend soaking the bread in the broth for an hour prior to soup making. I think that would make the bread soft enough that blending wouldn't be necessary. -Add salt to taste. -Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some pepper and some fresh herbs.

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