· 3 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes· 2 tablespoons olive oil· 4 tablespoons unsalted butter· 2 cloves garlic, minced· 1 anchovy fillet· 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste· 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)· For the Cheese Toast:· 2 tablespoons olive oil· 8 slices Italian bread· 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves· 6 ounces shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
Step 1Remove cores from tomatoes and cut in half crosswise. Reserve until needed.Step 2Heat olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovy and cook until garlic is sizzling in the hot fat, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully add the tomatoes with their juices, salt, and red pepper flakes. Toss with a spoon every few minutes until the tomatoes release their liquid and start to break down.Step 3Once the tomatoes have softened and start to collapse, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have fallen apart and the soup resembles a coarse tomato sauce, about 45 minutes.Step 4Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone liner. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.Step 5Place the bread slices on the prepared baking sheet. Top each slice with sliced basil, and then Cheddar cheese.Step 6Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is well browned and crispy around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.Step 7Remove soup from heat and pass through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Use the back of a ladle to push all the tomato mixture through. Discard the skins and seeds, which should be the only things left in the strainer.Step 8Transfer the strained tomato soup back into the saucepan and place back over medium-low heat. Continue cooking to thicken slightly, if desired, or simply bring back to a simmer and serve immediately with the cheese toasts.