Tomato and capsicum warmer

Sweet red capsicums and tomato passata make a beautiful ruby red soup that is sophisticated yet simple to prepare. Swirled with crème fraîche and accompanied by hot pesto bread, it makes a splendid special–occasion starter.

Tomato and capsicum warmer


  • 1 long baguette
  • ¼ cup (60 g) pesto
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 700 g red capsicums (3–4 capsicums, depending on size), seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 300 ml vegetable stock, preferably homemade light or rich 300 ml tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 6 sprigs of fresh basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut the baguette across in half so that it will fit into the oven.
  3. Cut each half into 3.
  4. 5 cm thick slices, leaving the slices attached at the base.
  5. Hold the slices apart and spread each one thinly with pesto, then press them back together.
  6. Wrap the bread in foil and set aside.
  7. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  8. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened but not browned.
  9. Stir in the capsicums and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Pour in the stock and remove from the heat.
  11. Place the bread in the oven to heat for 15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, purée the soup in a blender until smooth.
  13. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the passata, thyme, cinnamon and sugar.
  14. Heat the soup gently without allowing it to boil.
  15. Season to taste.
  16. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each portion with a spoonful of crème fraîche and a sprig of basil.
  17. Serve with the hot pesto bread.

Serves 6
Preparation: about 20 minutes
Cooking: about 30 minutes


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