Tomato basil soup has never had a whole lot of appeal for me. In my head I think I always thought it would taste like bad canned soup. All of that changed last week when Steve and I went out for lunch. The restaurant we were at had a lovely patio with a beautiful view of the St Croix River. Almost everything on the menu sounded fantastic but the thing that caught my eye was a lobster grilled cheese. It had chunks of lobster (of course), dill Havarti cheese and truffle oil and it was served with tomato basil soup. The sandwich was amazing and much to my surprise, the soup was fantastic as well! It brought tomato soup and grilled cheese to a whole new level!!
The soup was so good that I decided I had to give it a try at home. So off to the farmer’s market I went this week and came home with some beautiful tomatoes and a large bunch of fresh basil. The soup I had at the restaurant had a little kick to it, so I added red pepper flakes to mine. The rest of the ingredients were pretty simple, tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock if you prefer), parmesan cheese, a touch of half and half and of course, basil.
The result was delicious! My kids all said they don’t normally like tomato soup, but they LOVED this and ate every last bite! It was a little spicier than what I had at the restaurant, but the kids said they liked it that way and so did I.
I almost forgot about the sandwich. I wanted something yummy to dip in the soup, not just a normal grilled cheese. So I spread garlic butter on artisan sour dough bread slices and filled the sandwiches with a combination of parmesan and mozzerella. Once they were toasted, they were amazing and went great with the soup.
I hope you give this a try and bring your soup and sandwich to a new level!
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup with Italian Grilled Cheese “Dippers”
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup:
- 2 lb fresh tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 2 large cloves or 4 small cloves garlic (I used 4 small), minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t want it as spicy)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese (I used shredded because that’s what I had on hand)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup half and half (I used fat free)
- 15 basil leaves, chopped
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes to pan and increase heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until tomatoes have cooked down, stirring occasionally.
Puree tomatoes in the pot with an immersion blender or ladle into a blender to puree.
Stir cheese into tomatoes and continue stirring until melted. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once soup has come to a boil, stir in half and half. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Stir in chopped basil right before serving.
Italian Grilled Cheese “Dippers”
- 8 slices good quality sour dough bread
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- about 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese (I used reduced fat)
- about 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine garlic with softened butter. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Then flip over and divide cheeses equally between the slices.
Make into 4 sandwiches. Toast each sandwich for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Serve immediately with the soup.
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