Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

The intense red of Italian tomatoes marries perfectly with the richness of red peppers to create this beautiful and delicious soup which is perfect with warm Italian bread for a family lunch or supper. The roasting of the garlic takes a little while but is well worth the wait.

Ready in 60 minutes
Serves 4 people
Suitable for vegetarian

Ingredients

Half a full head Garlic, cut across the bulbs
5 Red Peppers
1 bottle Cook Italia Passata
5 tablespoons Olive Oil
500ml Stock, or a stock cube dissolved in 500ml hot water
A teaspoon Sugar
A pinch Salt and Black Pepper
A handful Fresh Basil leaves, roughly torn
4 spoonsful Crème Fraiche to serve, optional

Method

To roast the garlic: pre-heat the oven to 200OC, 180OC fan, gas mark 6. Slice through the whole garlic head so that the bulbs are exposed, rub the half-head all over with Olive Oil and roast on a tray in the oven for about 20 minutes until it has softened.

Whilst the garlic is roasting, remove the skin from the peppers – this is an Italian way:

Rub the peppers with Olive Oil.
Place under a hot grill and turn regularly so that they blacken all over.
Quickly remove them from the grill and put them into a large bowl.
Cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm and let them sweat for 10 minutes or so.
At this stage they’ll be cool enough to handle and the skins will slip off easily.

When the garlic is soft, remove it from the oven and squeeze the garlic out of its skin and put aside.

Whilst the peppers are cooling, warm the Olive Oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft but not burnt.

Add the Passata, skinned peppers, sugar and garlic and stir well. Add the stock and a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to so that it bubbles gently for 25 minutes.

Pour the finished soup into a blender and whiz for a few seconds until it’s as smooth as you like it.

Drizzle the torn basil with a little Olive Oil, scatter over the soup with an optional spoonful of crème fraiche. Serve immediately, offering freshly ground black pepper for a final flourish.


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