- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes (organic plum or San Marzano) or 12 ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled
- 1 quart water or Vegetable Stock
- ¼ cup dry red wine loaf Country White Bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1. With a mortar and pestle, mash the basil well with ½ cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, this step can be done in a food processor.
2. To preserve the rustic taste and appearance of this infused oil, take care to pulse the ingredients very gently. Set the mashed basil oil aside.
3. In an 8-quart stockpot, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano just until the garlic begins to sizzle.
4. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the stockpot, including all juices that come from the tomatoes.
5. Add the water or stock and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
7. Stir in the bread and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, drizzling the hot soup liberally with the mashed basil oil.