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Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup with Ricotta Grilled Cheese

Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup with Ricotta Grilled Cheese


  • Author: Chef Resha
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 3 quarts of soup
  • Category: soups and stews

Description

Delicious roasted tomatoes, garlic, and shallots cooked down to a wonderfully seasoned, bright tasting soup with lots of fresh basil and sweet onion cream. This soup is completely vegetarian.


Ingredients

For the roasted garlic tomato basil soup

  • 4.5 pounds tomatoes, halved and quartered (SEE NOTE)
  • 15 cloves garlic (or 1 small head), skins removed and left whole
  • 3 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Herbs de provence
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine, optional
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, about 1 cup packed, plus more for garnish
  • 1-2 additional tablespoons granulated or brown sugar, if needed

For the sweet onion cream

  • 3 sweet yellow onions
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from a lemon, about 3 tablespoons

For the ricotta grilled cheese

  • 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta
  • Whole milk mozzarella slices (SEE NOTE)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons japanese or regular mayo
  • Sliced bread of choice (SEE NOTE)
  • Olive oil

Instructions

Time saving tip: Make the sweet onion puree and soup ahead! Both can be done the day before you’re ready to eat, that way all you have to prepare the day of is the ricotta grilled cheese. Store the onion puree in a half-quart container, and the cooled soup in air-tight ziploc bags or quart containers.

The reason we’re using two baking sheets is because we have a lot of tomatoes, and we want to make sure they all get some color and not just steam. If you are halving the soup measurements, you will only need one 16×12 aluminum baking sheet.

Equipment needed: An immersion blender, food processor, or high-powered blender to puree the soup. Two large baking sheets for the full recipe, one for a halved version.

For the sweet onion cream

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place all three onions in a small baking dish or cake pan, and drizzle each with olive oil. Roast for about 45-55 minutes, then remove from oven to cool. When the onions are cool enough to handle, remove the paper skins, keeping just the softened onion flesh. Discard the root end.
  3. Toss the onion flesh into a blender, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the juice from one lemon. Puree until completely smooth and emulsified. Just be aware that if you’re using a food processor to do this, it will not be as smooth and creamy.
  4. Set aside until ready to use. 

For the roasted garlic tomato basil soup

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make sure it’s nice and hot!
  2. Spread half and quartered tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, and quartered shallots on two large 18×13 baking sheets. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, then season with kosher salt, a big pinch of black pepper, a big pinch of sugar, crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of herbs de provence all over the tomatoes, garlic, and shallots. Toss everything together to make sure it’s evenly coated and seasoned. 
  3. If using two baking sheets, arrange one oven rack in the upper-middle position, and one in the middle-lower position. Place one baking sheet of tomatoes on each oven rack, and roast for 40-50 minutes, rotating the baking sheets every 15-20 minutes until lightly charred and caramelized. If using one baking sheet, arrange the oven rack to the middle position, and roast the tomatoes for 30-45 minutes, or until lightly charred and caramelized. Remove the tomatoes from the oven.
  4. Scrape up all of the caramelized bits and pour all contents and extracted juices into a large pot over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and cook the mixture down for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tomatoes and paste start to stick to the bottom of the pot very lightly.
  5. Pour in the vegetable broth, while scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the dry sherry wine (if using), and bring the soup to a hard simmer over medium-high heat. Toss in the fresh basil and stir to combine. Continue simmering for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Turn off the heat. Insert an immersion blender and puree, or puree the soup in batches using a food processor or high-powered blender. Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium heat, and cook gently for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Give the soup a taste! Adjust salt, and sugar levels as needed. Add more crushed red pepper flakes if you need to. Continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Cover the pot to keep the soup warm until ready to serve.

For the ricotta grilled cheese

  1. In a small bowl, add the ricotta, basil, thyme, and 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese and mix to combine.
  2. Spread a very thin layer of mayo on one side of each slice of bread. Sprinkle evenly with a little bit of parmigiano reggiano cheese, about a teaspoon per slice. Flip the bread over, and add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese to every other slice. Spread a generous layer, about 1/4 cup of ricotta mixture all over the mozzarella slices. Top the ricotta mixture with another thin layer of mozzarella, then a slice of bread — parmigiano reggiano side up.
  3. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Place 1 to 2 sandwiches in the skillet. Turn the heat on medium-low and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp. You’re starting them off in a cold pan to avoid scorching, and the heat elevating gently ensures the cheese in the middle melts properly. Don’t do this over really high heat, you’ll brown the outside before the cheese gets a chance to melt. Adjust the heat as needed once you flip the sandwich to prevent burning. Don’t press the sandwiches, you don’t want the cheese to ooze out of the sides.
  4. When the sandwich is crisp and golden, and the cheese is oozy and melted completely, turn off the heat and serve the sandwiches with the hot soup, garnished with more fresh basil and a dollop of sweet onion cream.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

The soup recipe can be made ahead and halved. Store leftover soup in plastic quart containers in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Use a variety of tomatoes for this recipe. I used organic roma tomatoes, organic campari tomatoes, and organic sweet cherry tomatoes. Organic tomatoes are often a bit sweeter, but you can use non-organic too, and just adjust sweet levels during the simmering process.

Feel free to use any kind of bread you prefer for the grilled cheese. The ricotta mixture should be enough for 4-6 sandwiches. Any leftover ricotta mixture can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an air-tight container. If using shredded mozzarella for the sandwiches, just add it into the ricotta mixture to make it a little easier on yourself.

Keywords: vegetarian, tomato soup, roasted tomato soup

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