Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

My friend Frank Newbold told me he’d been served tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons on top and I thought, OMG what a great idea! This tomato soup is spiced with saffron, which has enough flavor to stand up to the Gruyère in the croutons. Nursery food updated—how bad could that be?

Reprinted from the book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten. Copyright © 2012 by Ina Garten. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Ina Garten

Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

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    Ingredients

    3 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions) 1/2 cup orzo
    1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 cup heavy cream
    4 cups chicken stock 4 (1/2-inch thick) slices country white bread
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    Large pinch of saffron threads 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      For the Grilled Cheese Croutons: Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.

    • 2

      Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

    • 3

      For the Tomato Soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

    • 4

      Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

    • 5

      Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.

    notes

    You can make the soup ahead and reheat it before serving.

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