It’s been a rainy — dare I say stormy? — weekend in San Diego, and this soup/sandwich combo was the perfect curl-up-on-the-couch comfort meal.
I love me a grilled cheese, and this version by Tyler Florence, from his “Stirring the Pot” cookbook, is pretty amazing. He calls for smoked mozzarella, which I substituted with smoked gouda, layered with a delicious traditional pesto, sandwiched between bread toasted up with butter in a pan. The nice, crispy crust on the bread, plus the smoky, oozy cheese with the contrast from the fresh pesto — it’s basically my perfect sandwich.
And what better than to dip this delicious sandwich in creamy tomato soup?
I’ve never been a fan of the canned tomato soup. In fact, I didn’t even think I liked tomato soup until I tried a real, homemade one. What a discovery! This one by Rachael Ray is possibly the easiest one I’ve ever made. Big winner. It’s simple but has great flavor.
- I used a yummy gourmet bread (I think it was sundried tomato/spinach or something) instead of plain white bread
- Make extra pesto and use it later in the week for ravioli or put it on top of some salmon. Yum.
- Dip the sandwich in the soup as you eat it. Obviously.
Smoked Gouda and Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese
- 4 slices white sandwich bread
- 4 slices smoked mozzarella (I used gouda)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
To make pesto combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still has a rough texture.
Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of mozzarella and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place the bread over to make the sandwich. Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add butter. Add sandwich and cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and rub toasted bread with garlic.
Creamy Tomato Soup
- 2 (15-ounce) containers, chicken or vegetable stock/broth (preferred brand: Kitchen Basics)
- 1 (28-ounce) can concentrated crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 20 leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish
Combine broth and tomatoes in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When soup bubbles, stir in heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Season with a little salt and pepper and simmer gently 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. With an immersion blender, puree soup. Serve bowls of soup with basil chiffonade.