CRAIG CLAIBORNE'S TOMATO SOUP

'Yes, I've been making making tomato soup frequently this summer,' said food expert and author Craig Claiborne by phone last week. ll be glad to give you the recipe. I vary it from time to time, sometimes adding cooked corn cut from the cob, or a few strands of fresh pasta. And as a matter of personal taste, I also usually add Tabasco and a good amount of black pepper.'Here's Mr. Claiborne's latest recipe for tomato soup: 4 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds) 2 Bermuda onions (about 1 3/4 pounds) 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cups College Inn beef broth Salt and pepper, to taste 1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 1 tablespoon fresh pesto (optional)

Don't peel tomatoes, but cut away their cores and dice into small cubes, making about 4 cups. Set aside. Peel onions and cut in cubes no larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, about 5 cups. Heat olive oil in large pan and add onions. Cook onions until they lose the raw smell, but don't brown. Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes, stirring often from the bottom of pan, until sauce-like. Add beef broth, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, basil, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or longer. Add about 1 tablespoon fresh pesto if available. Serve with fresh toast on the side. "I also like the kind of goat cheese that has been rolled in red or black pepper," Claiborne says. Serves 6 or more.

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