Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

makes about 8 servings

*If you are making the soup to freeze, omit the cream.  Add the cream after you defrost the soup and warm it up.

For Soup:
4 pounds tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream*

For Parmesan Crisps:
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated on large holes of box grater
ground black pepper

To Make Soup:
Soup can be made a couple of days ahead, cooled, refrigerated and then gently reheated.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on a large baking sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil (makes for easier clean up).  Add unpeeled garlic to tomatoes.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil all over the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast tomatoes for 1 hour,  let tomatoes cool for a little while and then peel garlic.

Cook onion, oregano and sugar in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a very heavy pot over medium heat, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic and stock and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Place an immersion blender into the pot and puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender (promise yourself to go buy one), pour the soup into a regular blender and puree. You may have to do this in batches, if you use a regular blender. Don't skip this step of pureeing the soup first- the soup will have a richer flavor, if you some of the seeds and skins get pureed.  Force pureed soup through a strainer (or use a food mill - it's easier) to remove remaining skins and seeds.   (if you absolutely just don't want to strain the soup, don't worry - you can skip this step, if you don't mind the seeds.  You will just have a chunkier soup. I prefer my soup strained.)   Pour strained soup into a small clean pot, stir in cream*  and taste for salt and pepper. Simmer just a couple of minutes to reheat.

Ladle soup into bowls and place a parmesan crisp on top.

To Make Parmesan Crisps:

(these can be made a couple of days ahead and stored in an airtight container.  Layer crisps with wax paper.)
makes 8 crisps
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or sheet of baking parchment.  Take a 3 inch biscuit cutter and place about 2 tablespoons of the cheese into the cutter. Press down a little on the cheese, to shape.  Gently remove cutter.  Repeat until you have made 8 mounds of cheese.  If you like, add a little pinch of black pepper on top of each one.  Bake for about 7-8 minutes, just until set and before they start to turn golden.  Remove from oven, let cool on pan for a few minutes.  They will firm up as they cool. Gently lift off with a spatula. 

The Italian Dish