Grown-Up Grilled Cheese and Tomato Orzo Soup

Oh boy, do we have a comfort food treat for you all tonight! Got 30 minutes? Well then, we have dinner.

It’s everything you knew grilled cheese and tomato soup could be.

It's a soup and sandwich. It's partly a nostalgia meal.

It's a soup and sandwich. It's partly a nostalgia meal.

We have to give props to the good folks at Wegmans for recommending this soup a few weeks ago. It’s what we want in a dinner — tomatoey, creamy and it even has pasta!

To start, drag out your big ol’ soup pot and warm up a bit of olive oil — about two teaspoons — over medium to medium high heat. Add to that 1/2 of a large onion, diced, two stalks of celery, finely diced, and a handful or so of baby carrots, also diced. You’re looking for about a cup of vegetables in total. Stir the mirepoix around for six minutes or until it’s all nice and tender. Next, add two cloves of garlic, minced, and cook for another two minutes  or until the garlic no longer smells so pungent.

It's a bunch of vegetables with a fancy, dressed up, liberal elite name.

It's a bunch of vegetables with a fancy, dressed up, liberal elite name.

Now it’s time  for the good stuff. Add 1 – 28 ounce can of cut Roma tomatoes with basil or Italian seasoning, liquid and all. If you can’t find the tomatoes cut up, just use your hand to give them a good squash before putting them in the pot. Use the side of your spoon to break them up the rest of the way.

If you accidently buy the whole tomatoes, use a potatoe masher or somethin'.

Or use a potato masher.

Also to the pot, add 1 -28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with Italian seasoning. Let that simmer for 10 minutes, then add 4 cups of vegetable stock — that’s one carton. Let the soup return to a simmer, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Yummy!

Next, we add the secret ingredient — roasted red peppers. We used the stuff in the jar and just took out enough to equal about two whole peppers, then diced ’em up. You can make the peppers yourself, but if you go the jarred route, here’s a tip — a little olive oil added to the peppers once they’re opened will make them last a lot longer in the fridge.

Roasted Red Peppers. They add a little zip.

Roasted Red Peppers. They add a little zip.

Once you add the peppers, it’s time for the pasta. We used orzo but any small pasta shape will do. Let the pasta simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until nice and tender. Once that happens, remove the soup from heat.

You’re almost done! The secret ingredient here is low-fat cream (which sounds like an oxymoron, but apparently is not). Pour one cup of cream into a soup bowl and ladle a few spoonfuls of soup into it. This tempers the cream, slowly raises it temperatures, and prevents it from curdling when it hits the hot soup. Add the soup to the cream slowly and give it a good stir. When it’s nice and warmed up, dump the cream in your pot of soup and swirl it all about.

A big load of chunky cream is a sure fire way to ruin the soup.

A big load of chunky cream is a sure fire way to ruin the soup.

The last thing you have to do for the soup is add some basil — either fresh, frozen or dried will do. Just season to taste.

Now, that big pot of soup will stay warm for a few minutes, so now is the time to turn your attention the the grilled cheese. Ingredients are important here, but I think the technique adds a little something, too.

To start, warm up a pan that will comfortably hold two pieces of bread over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add about 1/2 Tablespoon of butter to it. Let the butter melt, then place your bread in the pan and start assembling your sandwiches.

It's a little bit different than the traditional method.

It's a little bit different than the traditional method.

For each sandwich, we used two pieces of Muenster cheese with a piece of extra sharp cheddar cheese in between them. We also used multigrain bread, because it is tasty.

When the sandwiches are ready to flip, add another 1/2 Tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it melt. Turn the sandwiches over and let cook for a few more minutes, until the cheese is all nice and gooey.

I can’t think of a better meal after a long day (or week). We hope you agree!

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1 Comment

Filed under Dinner, Soups and Stews

One response to “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese and Tomato Orzo Soup

  1. Good Eater

    Oh yeah…I want to go to THERE right now! Can’t wait to try this soup.

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