Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Roasting the tomatoes in this soup before mixing them in brings out all their sweetness and flavor.

Serves: 4

2 lb. Tomatoes
2 tspn. Sugar
6-8 Garlic Cloves (skins left on)
2 tbls. Olive Oil (for brushing)
2 Onions (peeled and chopped)
1 qt. Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
2-3 drops Hot Pepper Sauce
Large handful of Fresh Basil Leaves (roughly torn into pieces)
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Fresh Basil Sprigs (for garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to gas 4000F/2000C. Cut the tomatoes in half and brush with a little olive oil. Place in a roasting pan, cut side uppermost, and sprinkle over the sugar. Brush the garlic cloves with a little olive oil and place on top of the tomatoes. Roast for 20-30 minutes, taking out the garlic earlier if it begins to dry and burn.

2. Allow the roasted tomatoes and garlic to cool a little. Squeeze the garlic flesh from its skin and mash. Scoop the tomato flesh and juice from the skins. Discard the skins.

3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and gently fry until soft and translucent. Add the roasted tomatoes and mashed garlic to the pan with the stock, hot pepper sauce, basil, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Allow the soup to cool, then puree it in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Chill for several hours before serving. Serve the soup garnished with sprigs of fresh basil.

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