Each Italian Nonna probably has her own secret recipe for tomato soup. One thing I have learned is that almost none of them use fresh tomatoes!
Every good winter tomato soup arguably starts with carrots and onions.
Dice two medium or one large carrot, chop an onion. Add some olive oil to a large pan, and fry off the carrot and onion until the carrot gets soft. Chop up a few cloves of garlic and add to the mixture; stir well and make sure the garlic does not burn (because it would turn bitter). Add some finely chopped chilli (maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of a medium chilli, depending on your taste).
Now add the content of a small can of tomato paste. Stir through the mixture and fry for a little bit; this will take out the bitterness of the paste and create sweetness instead.
Next, add a can of (Italian) tomatoes, preferably already pulped. Finally, add about a liter of vegetable stock (or a liter of water and two vegetable stock cubes).
Bring close to a boil and simmer for at least half an hour.
Now it is time for a big decision: smooth or chunky?
This time, I chose the latter. Using a food processor, blitz to the required level of smoothness. You will notice that blitzing made the liquid thicker. Add water until the soup has the consistency that you like.
Chop up some sun dried tomatoes and add to the soup. Simmer for another ten minutes; season with freshly ground pepper and salt.
Serve the soup with some finely chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil.