In celebration of the first day of fall on Saturday, I made my first soup on Sunday. It was a basil-parmesan tomato soup made in the crock pot. Since the soup was a twist on a traditional tomato soup, I complemented it with a twist on grilled cheese – parmesan crusted, pesto mozzarella. Mmmmmm…. just writing about it makes me hungry.
The soup was very easy to make, but at one point I did think that I had completely messed it up. After the veggies and broth cook for 5 – 7 hours in the slow cooker, you have to make the “cream” part of the soup. I melted the butter and whisked in the flour and I ended up with a clumpy, disgusting looking mess. I was a little disheartened thinking I somehow screwed up mixing the butter and flour, but then I added some of the hot veggies and broth from the crock pot and instantly, the clumps disappeared and the creamy coral color of the soup appeared! I literally yelled to Bob (who was in our living room) – “IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE PICTURE!!!”
Anyway, the soup and sandwiches were delicious separately and together.
Basil-Parmesan Tomato Soup Recipe (from Today’s Mama)
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk )- I used 1 cup half and half, 1 cup skim milk
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.
Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Recipe (from Pin Cookie)
Ingredients (per sandwich):
2 slices ciabatta or French bread
1 tablespoon soft butter, for brushing the bread
2 slices mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
2. Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place the mozzarella cheese slices on top of one piece of bread. Top with the other slice of bread. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of one side of the sandwich.
3. Place the sandwich, cheese side down, on the hot pan. Grill for 2 minutes or until Parmesan cheese is crusted and golden brown. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of the other side of the sandwich. Cook until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.