½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2, 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes (organic plum or San Marzano) or 12 ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled

1 quart water or vegetable stock

¼ cup dry red wine

1 Panera Bread Country Loaf, torn into bite-size pieces


• WITH A MORTAR AND PESTLE, mash the basil well with ½ cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, this step can be done in a food processor.

• To preserve the rustic taste and appearance of this infused oil, take care to pulse the ingredients very gently. Set the mashed basil oil aside.

• In an 8-quart stockpot, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano just until the garlic begins to sizzle.

• Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the stockpot, including all the juices that come from the tomatoes.

• Add the water or stock and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

• Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

• Stir in the bread and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, drizzling the hot soup liberally with the mashed basil oil.

Makes: 8 servings