Tomato soup, chilli grissini, scamorza affumicata croutons, pancetta crumble and basil oil

Move over Andy Warhol. A new world order for soup is here this winter, and it’s not printed, it’s PIMPED! We’re giving good old tomato soup a mojo makeover with a side of bling! But there are no flashy tricks. This next-level glow-up hasn’t forgone substance for style. It’s all about flavour. And it’s not just tomato soup that does well with a touch of Kardashian; any of the classics can shine with a little Gucci garnish. What will you add to your winter menu?



  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g butter
  • 4 brown onions, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 3kg tinned Italian tomatoes, roughly mashed up
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 25ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5L chicken stock

Chilli grissini
(makes 15-20)

  • 300g plain flour
  • 7g yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 55ml olive oil
  • 165ml tepid water
  • 10-20ml chilli oil
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • Sea salt

Pancetta crumble

  • 100g pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 40g blanched almonds

Basil oil

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 250ml fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mozzarella croutons

  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2-day-old bread, crust removed, torn into chunks
  • 1 ball scamorza affumicata, torn into small chunks


To start the soup, add oil and butter to a large saucepan. Heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and salt, then sauté for 8-10 minutes until softened. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. 

Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two. Add gochujang, tomatoes, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the stock, then simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes. Blitz with an immersion blender, then pass through a sieve

For the chilli grissini, combine flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and water in a large bowl. Bring together into a rough dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, stretch and fold until smooth. Form into a ball. Cover and let it rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Line trays with Silpat or baking paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle (roughly 40 x 25cm) on a lightly floured workbench. Cover and let it rest for another 20 minutes. Brush the dough with chilli oil, then sprinkle over the parmesan, fennel seeds and sea salt. Cut the dough into strips (about 1.5 cm wide). Twist each strip in opposite directions, carefully stretching until it’s a long, thin elegant twist about the length of the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

For the pancetta crumble, fry the pancetta for about 5 minutes until crisp. Add the blanched almonds and continue frying until the nuts are golden. Drain on paper towel then blitz in a food processor.

For the basil oil, blanch the basil in boiling water for 10 seconds, drain and cool. Squeeze excess water from the basil, add to a blender with the parsley, spring onion, garlic, oil and salt. Blend until smooth. Leave to infuse for a couple of hours. Pour into a lined sieve, leave to strain. Transfer strained oil into a bottle.

For the mozzarella croutons, the goal here is golden toasted crumbs mingled with chunks of molten crispy cheese. These can be batch-baked to serve en masse or pan-fried to order.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the oil and butter until the butter has melted. Stir in the garlic powder. Add the bread to a bowl and pour over the hot oil and butter, toss to coat, then add the scamorza and toss again. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake at 180°c until the bread is golden and the cheese is molten and crispy.

Notes: Scamorza affumicata is a smoked Italian stretched-curd cheese, not unlike mozzarella. It has a delicate smokiness and pairs beautifully with the tangy brightness of tomato soup.

As seen in winter 2024

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