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Tomato and Basil Soup

Fresh tomato soup is highly superior to tinned varieties. Sun-ripened tomatoes give the sweetest flavour, so this soup is ideally made in the summer with almost overripe tomatoes. The pasta may be omitted or replaced by the same amount of rice.
Preparation time : 15 minutes,
Cooking time : 30 minutes,
Calories per serving: 160

ingredients

serves 4
2 lb (900 g) ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 1/4 pints (725 ml) vegetable stock
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 1/2 oz (40g) small pasta shapes
1 bunch fresh basil or lovage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Chop the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently saute the garlic for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta shapes in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and keep to one side in cold water.

3. Pass the tomatoes and liquid through a sieve, or puree in a liquidiser and pass through a fine sieve.

4. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Reheat gently. Reserving 6 whole leaves, finely chop the basil and stir into the soup. Season to taste, garnish with the basil leaves and serve.

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