1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic,smashed, peeled, and sliced
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
14 large basil leaves, washed well and cut across into narrow strips
1 3/4 pounds (790 g) plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock [for a vegetarian soup, use Garlic Broth ]
2 teaspoons coarse salt, or less if using commercial broth
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
good olive oil, for serving
Heat the oven to 225°F . Place the bread directly on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, just to dry the bread out; do not brown. Break the bread into large pieces.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 13 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the stock, bread, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring and breaking up the bread with the back of a spoon, for 15 minutes. The bread should break down to a mush. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Serve with a few grinds of fresh pepper, and drizzled with some good olive oil.