Tomato Soup with Orzo & Grilled Cheese Croutons

Serves: 4 (for 2 nights)

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 6T good olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 2T minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 8c veggie stock
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 large pinches of saffron threads
  • 1T salt and 2t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dried orzo (no more)
  • 1c cashew cream (1/2 cup raw cashews + 1/2 cup water blended until smooth)
  • Grilled Cheese Croutons (see recipe)

Grilled Cheese Croutons:

  • 8 (½-inch-thick) slices fresh sourdough or whole wheat bread
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

Directions:

Soup:

  1. In a very large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Stir in the veggie stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1.5-2 teaspoons pepper.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Orzo:

  1. Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.)
  3. Drain the orzo and add it to the soup.
  4. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Grilled Cheese Croutons:

  1. Heat a panini grill.
  2. Place the four slices of bread on the grill and and pile Gruyère on each slice.
  3. Place the remaining four slices of bread on top of the Gruyère.
  4. Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned.
  5. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  6. Serve the soup hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.

Variations & Notes:

  • Try with cooked brown rice instead of orzo for a healthier version.
  • This recipe is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe.

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