2.5Tbspextra virgin olive oil (or water to be WFPB compliant)
Roast the Peppers:
Preheat your broiler and place the sweet and red bell peppers on a broiler proof sheet pan (oil-free). Roast them under the flames for a few minutes until charred all over and the skins have turned black. Keep a close eye on them and using a pair of kitchen tongues turn the peppers to make sure all sides get nice and charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a tea towel until cool enough to handle. (Alternately you can roast them on open flame on your stove top, but it might be a little messier that way)
Gently peel the charred skins off of the peppers and discard the core. Set aside until needed.
Make the Soup:
While your peppers are roasting start the soup. Preheat a heavy bottom soup pot on medium low flame.
Add the diced onion with a pinch of sea salt and a splash of water (or a light drizzle of olive oil. Sautee together for about 10 minutes until wilted and translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic and smoked paprika and give everything a good stir. Add the San Marzano tomatoes with all their juices.
Bring to a gentle simmer and add the roasted red peppers (reserve the mini sweet peppers for garnish) and bay leaves. Pour in the water or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer again. Cook together on medium low flame for 20 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and discard the bay. Using a hand held immersion blender puree the soup until thin to your liking. Add more vegetable stock or water to thin out the soup as much as you like. (Alternatively you can wait to add any water or veggie stock as the last step, some people prefer the soup very thick).
Adjust seasoning to taste with more sea salt and serve with a drizzle of Italian parsley pesto.
Make the Parsley Pesto:
Add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth to your liking. Drizzle over the soup and enjoy!