Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

A comforting bowl of spicy tomato soup with cheesy, herby garlic bread. The soup is creamy, comforting, full of bold flavor, and made even better when soaked up by the bread. It’s the perfect tomato soup to make all winter long.

a bowl of spicy tomato soup with garlic cheese bread on the side

spicy tomato soup – the inspiration

I think the best tomato soups are made in the summer, when tomatoes are in season and at their sweetest & juiciest. There’s nothing like roasting up fresh tomatoes from the market and blending them into an intensely flavorful soup. The rest of the ingredients can be kept minimal so that the sweet tomatoes stand out.

So when making tomato soup in the winter, I usually take the opposite approach – using canned tomatoes and the addition of other ingredients to add in more flavor…lots of garlic, fresh fennel, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, white wine, and fresh oregano.

The soup comes together in just about 45 minutes, with the ingredients simmering in a large pot and then blended until smooth and creamy. I like to stir in a little heavy cream at the end for a silky finish.

a bowl of spicy tomato soup with garlic cheese bread dipped in

You’ll definitely want to top it off with extra parmesan cheese, herbs, and some crushed red pepper flakes if you want extra heat.

And of course, no spicy tomato soup would be complete without a side of extra decadent garlic bread.

I like to take ciabatta bread and brush it with melted butter that’s been flavored with lots of garlic and herbs. You can toast the bread as is, but it’s even better with provolone cheese melted over top. The edges of the bread crisp while the inside stays soft and buttery.

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Spicy Tomato Soup with Garlic Cheese Bread

a creamy, spicy tomato soup with a side of herby garlic cheese bread

servings: 6-8

Ingredients

Scale

Spicy Tomato Soup

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¾ lb carrots, peeled + diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cored + diced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 11 ½ tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 (28-oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 qt stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 large sprigs fresh oregano
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • toppings: grated parmesan, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes

Garlic Cheese Bread

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
  • ¼ lb salted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • ¾ lb provolone cheese, shredded

Instructions

Spicy Tomato Soup

  1. Heat a large stainless steel pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, carrots, and fennel. Season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized, stirring often.
  2. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Let cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, then pour in the wine. Simmer for a minute or so.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock, and sprigs of oregano. Season again with salt and black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the oregano. Transfer the soup to a blender (working in batches if needed). Blend for 90 seconds until smooth and creamy. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with parmesan cheese, extra parsley & oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes if you want extra heat. Serve the garlic cheese bread (recipe below) alongside.

Garlic Cheese Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the halves of bread onto the pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and stir in the garlic, garlic powder, parsley, and oregano. Brush the butter mixture generously onto each half of bread. Distribute the provolone cheese evenly over top.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted. If desired, turn the oven to high broil and broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Top the bread with an extra sprinkle of herbs.

a bowl of spicy tomato soup

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