blender capable of pureeing and liquifying
2 (28 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (flakes or powder)
2 slices bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup almond milk, sweetened or unsweetened (I used the later)
1/4 cup agave nectar - more to taste
fresh Ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4 in. squares
This recipe will use a total of 1/2 cup of olive oil throughout the course of this recipe. I chose to pour it into a 1/2 cup measuring spoon and remove the following 2 tablespoons from there. Start my heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a deep high walled sauce pan. After it heats up briefly, add the onion, garlic, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir occasionally. Cook until the onions are tender. Add bread pieces and cans of tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Add two cups of water. Let sit until it comes to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer for roughly 5 minutes.
Next, pour the soup in two batches into the blender. The key here is to start at a slow speed and work up until it's at the highest speed. From there add half of the remaining olive oil into the opening at the top of the blender while it's at full speed. This will help the olive oil break down into smaller droplets at it binds with the starch from the bread and the water. Repeat this step for the remaining soup. Lastly, pour the soup back into the sauce pan on the stove, and add the agave nectar. Mix well and taste. If it's not sweet enough add more.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Using a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes. You can remove the crust if you like, but it's not necessary. Grease a baking pan with olive oil. Places the bread on the pan and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Shake some Italian seasoning on top and place in the oven. Cook for 7 minutes, then flip each crouton over and cook another 7 minutes. Done!
For a simple finishing touch, pour some soup into a bowl, grind some black pepper over the soup, and top with a few homemade croutons!
Update: I added another ingredient upon making this again. I felt like it needed more heat, so I added 1/3 of a chopped red pepper. I added it to the onion stage in the recipe. I also doubled the cayenne pepper as well. It added such a nice mellow heat that quietly sneaks up on you. Not too hot, just a nice little addition if you like heat.