tomato soup with grilled cheese

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  It’s a perfect match!  But why not combine the two?  :-p

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh basil, minced (for garnish)

For the croutons:
4 slices white bread
2 Tbsp butter, softened
4 slices deli sliced yellow American cheese

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 6-7 minutes. Drain the orzo and add it to the soup pot. Stir in the cream, then raise the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

To make the grilled cheese croutons, heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Place the 2 slices of cheese in between the unbuttered side to assemble. Cook in skillet for a few minutes on each side until bread is golden and cheese is melted. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a minute or two before cutting into 1-inch cubes.

Pour the soup into serving bowls, top with grilled cheese croutons, and garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2