4 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped*
2 Tbs. + 4 Tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 full handful freshly torn basil
1 Tbs. sugar
1 pint half & half
1 tsp. salt
garnish with freshly torn basil and mozzarella
Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in large stock pot. Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, do not brown. Add tomatoes, thyme, basil and sugar. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs. Puree soup in a blender, in batches. In each batch, drizzle about 1 Tb. olive oil while blender is on. When totally smooth, put each batch in a large bowl. When all the soup is pureed, pour it back into the stock pot. Add salt and stir well. Bring the soup back to a simmer and taste. Add desired amount of salt. Use a whisk to stir in the half & half. Serve with cheese and basil.
*To peel a tomato: cut an 'x' through the skin, but not the flesh at the base (or 'butt') of tomato. Drop into boiling water for about 10 seconds and then plunge tomato into a bowl filled with ice water. Gently peel the skin off the tomato. To seed a tomato, cut it in half widthwise, so that the stem is on one side and the base is on the other. Gently squeeze seeds out. You may need to poke your finger into the holes to get all the seeds out.