Monday, November 15, 2010

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Fresh Mozzarella/Pesto Grilled Cheese

While I like to make most things on my own, I have no problem throwing up the surrender flag when I taste something that I don’t think I could make better.  We used to have a grocery store (oh..don’t worry it’s still there, but we’re not)  anyway this grocery store made some of the BEST tomato basil soup I’ve ever had.  I have done pretty well recreating it. BUT I’m not a fan of peeling a ton of tomatoes, nor do I heart blending things, especially hot things.  Yep, you’ve caught me.  Two things I try to stay away from: 1) deep frying anything, it’s just a mess and a waste of oil and 2) dragging out bulky appliances like the blender.    So what am I to do?  Come up with a shortcut that’s equal to, if not better than the one I bought oh so long ago in the deli section of that far away store. 2 out of 2 Wilson children agree with me and Sidda even did a happy dance!!!
And by the way, if it drives you crazy to read passages with random  ……..’s (whatever those things are called), ßparentheses, commas and other punctuation thrown in just turn away now.  Because my writing will make you climb the wall. Not sure why it’s taken me so long to throw that disclaimer in there, but better late than never.
Creamy Tomato Basil soup
3 Tbsp. EVOO
4 cloves of garlic chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce~ I recommend Bertolli  Garlic and Olive Oil

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. basil ripped
3/4-1 cup heavy cream
Fresh mozzarella/pesto grilled cheese
Sliced sourdough bread ~Stands up better to pressing, or in my case, squashing with a heavy pan J
Fresh mozzarella sliced
Jar of pesto
Cooking instructions:
For the soup:  In heavy bottom large saucepan heat 3tbs EVOO over medium low heat.  Add chopped garlic and crushed red pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to infuse the oil with the flavor.  Add your spaghetti sauce and stir.  Stir in chicken broth. You can add more or less depending on how thin/thick you want your soup. Cover and cook over low heat while you make the sandwiches.
Brush one side of each slice of sourdough bread with EVOO. On the other side (the side without the evoo) spread a thin layer of pesto and layer on slices of fresh mozzarella.  Cover with other piece of bread, EVOO side up.  This will keep the sandwich from sticking as well as give it a crunchy golden crust. I like to make mine on a grill pan and since I don’t own a Panini press, I’ll put another heavy bottomed pan on top to press that sandwich down.  Cook sandwiches on medium for about 4 min on each side.  Keep an eye to make sure the sandwich isn’t cooking quicker than the cheese is melting. 
While your sandwiches grill, tear the basil and add it as well as stir in cream.  Remove soup from heat and cover until sandwiches are done.  Ladle soup into dippable bowl, Cut and plate sandwiches and start dunking!!

<------- My panini press ;)



  1. Love this Holly! I'm a big fan of tomato soup, yum. And that panini press looks like mine! :)