Tomato Soup with Rice & Basil


This is a lovely & simple primo for a summery evening - when you have an abundance of ripe tomatoes.

Serves 5 or 6

4 tablespoons olive oil + extra for serving
1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
800g (1 lb 12 oz) very ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped
12-15 basil leaves
1.25 litres (5 cups) hot water
180g (6 ¼ oz) short-grain white rice
grated parmesan, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a wide pot, saute the onion until golden & a bit sticky. Add the garlic & when it smells great, add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil & season with salt & pepper. Tear in about 7 of the basil leaves & simmer for 5 minutes or so, squashing down on tomato lumps with a potato masher. Add the hot water, simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
Add the rice & simmer for about 20 minutes more, covering with a lid at the end to prevent too much liquid evaporating. It should be quite thick but soupy – if it seems too thick add a little hot water. Taste for seasoning & adjust as necessary.
Serve in wide bowls, tear a couple of basil leaves in half over each. Scatter a couple of tablespoons of parmesan over & drizzle with olive oil. Add a grinding of black pepper & serve.
photo by Manos Chatzikonstantis, styling by Michail Touros