I modified this recipe from Chef Steven Satterfield's version of a similar soup.
Chunky Tomato Soup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (leeks work well too...but not quite as interesting)
3/4 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups water
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes—drained and finely chopped, juices reserved
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel (or leeks) and thyme and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the water and the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Using a good quality immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth but still slightly chunky. Serve the soup with homemade croutons and your favorite cheese sprinkled on top.
Also, if you like a spicier tomato soup - add 1/2 teaspoon good quality red chili flakes to the olive oil while it's heating. Saute for 1 minute. Then add the onion and fennel.
MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.