When it's fresh and in season, basil makes a nice alternative to the rosemary in this recipe.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 pounds ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes and their juices, crushed in a bowl)
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or homemade
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
For the garnish:
- 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced or quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 Cook the onion and garlic: Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened.
2 Add the tomatoes and beans: Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, rosemary, beans, 1 1/2 cups of water, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very soft. Remove the rosemary sprig. Stir in the Parmesan.
3 Puree the soup: In 2- to 3-cup batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth, or use an immersion blender. (Warning! The soup is hot! To puree hot liquid in a blender, only fill it 1/3 full. Cover the lid with a folded dishtowel and hold it down with your hand. Start on low speed, and increase the speed gradually.)
Transfer the soup to a pot and stir in enough additional water to bring the soup to your desired consistency (up to 2 1/2 cups of water). Taste and add salt and pepper, if you like. Reheat over low heat until hot.
4 Make the garnish: In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the basil.
5 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each bowl with the fresh tomato garnish.