Roasted Tomato Soup (with Parmesan Croutons)

recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

for the soup

3 pounds Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 large yellow onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken stock*
1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Parmesan Croutons (see below)

Heat oven to 400*F.

Cut Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. In a very large bowl, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and salt. Spread on large baking sheet and season with pepper. Roast for 45 minutes; remove from oven and allow to sit at room temperature.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, saute the onions and garlic with remaining oil and the butter until the onions start to brown. Add canned tomatoes (with their juices), basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the roasted tomatoes with any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Taste; if overly-acidic, add 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Simmer 10 more minutes. Taste again, adjusting salt, pepper, and sugar as needed.

Pass through a food mill fitted with coarsest blade. Serve hot or cold.

Garnish with basil or croutons.

*Soup is vegetarian if made with vegetable stock or water. Soup is gluten free if made with gluten free stock and croutons (if using).

for the croutons

1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450*F. Arrange bread on a rimmed baking sheet (tip: line with foil for easier cleanup) and brush both sides with olive oil. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden.

Turn the broiler on. Sprinkle cheese on each crouton - the more the better - and broil until melted.