I’ve been having a craving lately for the comfort food classic, tomato soup and grilled cheese. Flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, by Ina Garten, I found a recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons. Tomato soup brings such comfort, especially when some grilled cheese “croutons” are thrown in there. It’s the perfect kind of comfort food together in one big cozy bowl of soup. It makes a great meal for those busy week nights, and makes enough for lunch the next day. How fabulous is that?

You’ll probably already have all of these ingredients on hand, except maybe the tomatoes. All you do is simply coat the tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes. They’ll make your home smell heavenly, by the way. Then add to a pot with the other ingredients and simmer for 40 minutes, or even longer. Run it through a food mill or blender, and you’ve got yourself a delicious pot of soup.

Although the grilled cheese croutons aren’t necessary, they totally make the dish. In fact, it’s my favorite part. There is just something about thick slices of bread and cheese soaked in tomato soup, that is, well, amazing. And they’re better than just making a sandwich. Don’t ask me why… they just are. Serve for a busy weekday dinner or a comforting lunch. Either way, this bowl of soup with cheesy croutons will certainly bring you back to your childhood.

 

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Ingredients: 

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water

Grilled Cheese Croutons 

4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Directions:
1. Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

2. In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot.

3. Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up. Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add on top of soup.

Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved