I’m a sucker for tomato soup and grilled cheese. There’s something comforting in the combination for me and when it’s dreary out or I need a food hug, you’ll often find me mixing up a big pot of this soup and grilling up some sandwiches for dinner. Sure, I could just pop open a can of tomato soup and call it a day, but why? This recipe is easy, not quick, but easy and much more satisfying and healthy than a warmed up glob from a can. Both of my children love it…even the one who won’t touch tomatoes unless they are in the form of ketchup.
The deep flavor from this soup comes from oven roasting the tomatoes. It’s amazing what a little time in the oven can do to a bowl of tomatoes. You’ll start by slicing five pounds of tomatoes into wedges. This sounds like a lot, but just trust me.
Toss the tomato wedges in a large bowl with some olive oil, s & p, and a few garlic cloves that you’ve smashed with the flat edge of a large knife. Then, they’ll go into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
After about 40 minutes in a hot oven, your house will smell wow-worthy and you’ll be left with a beautiful pan of roasted tomatoes.
When I made this, we had a very busy night full of after-school running around. I roasted the tomatoes earlier in the day and let them hang out until I was ready to put the soup together when we were back home. Once the tomatoes are roasted, the time-consuming part is done.
After the tomatoes are roasted, you’ll saute some onions in a large soup pot. Once softened, you’ll add the tomato mixture and a few other basic pantry ingredients. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of water. I’ve always substituted chicken broth, but you could use the water or vegetable broth as well.
After the soup ingredients get to know each other a bit, you’ll need to puree the soup. You could puree it in batches in a blender, but whenever I need to puree a soup or sauce, I always turn to my hand blender. I just plug it in, give it a few whirls in the pot and then toss the dirty bit in the dishwasher. If you don’t have one, see if you can get your hands on one. I use mine all the time for anything from soup to scrambled eggs.
Finish off the soup with just a bit of cream and it’s done! Fresher than the can and you’ll have leftovers to enjoy for next couple of days.
What about the grilled cheese, you ask? Regular grilled cheese would be perfectly perfect with this, but if you can step it up a level and keep it just as easy, why not try? To accompany the roasted tomato soup, I put together a few grilled pesto and mozzarella sandwiches. Using either store-bought pesto or homemade (see the recipe here) and a little fresh mozzarella cheese, you can easily put together a killer grilled cheese sandwich.
Creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese: So classic and so simple, but they can make a dreary day so much better.
ROASTED TOMATO SOUP & PESTO-MOZZARELLA DIPPERS
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
- 5 lbs. (around 6-8) tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Pesto-Mozzarella Dippers:
- 8 slices crusty Italian bread
- 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 6 Tbsp. basil pesto
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Preheat oven to 450*.
- Toss tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 inch baking dish and roast in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until tomatoes are very soft. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, saute the onion in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the broth, sugar, basil, kosher salt, pepper flakes, and roasted tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer about 10 minutes. Puree the soup, in a blender or with hand blender, until smooth.
- Stir in the cream. Makes approx. 10 cups.
- For the sandwiches: Butter one side of each slice of bread. On four of the slices, spread a bit of the pesto. Top with a couple of slices of the mozzarella and the remaining buttered bread slices.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium for two minutes. Grill the sandwiches 2-3 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Turn the sandwiches, pressing firmly with a spatula, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for a couple of minutes before slicing. These can also be made in a Panini maker.
- Makes 4 sandwiches