Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheese Croutons

I wanted to re-create the comfort of Campbell’s Tomato Soup but for my grown up self that no longer eats soup out of a can. This was so creamy tasting but without any actual cream; garden tomatoes are best for this recipe. I prefer to leave out herbs such as basil or parsley so that it won’t taste like marinara sauce but that’s a matter of personal taste.

4 lbs garden tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup EVOO (plus additional for roasting the tomatoes)
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 t sugar
2 cubes of Knorr caldo de tomate (or salt to taste if you don’t have or want to use the Knorr)
freshly ground pepper
sliced Italian bread
cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to 400ยบ; put tomato halves along with the garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper and cook the onion over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.

Puree the tomatoes and garlic along with the sauteed onion in batches (I left the watery stuff behind on the baking sheet). Return to the pan and add the wine, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, sugar, Knorr (or salt) and freshly ground pepper.  You have the option of forcing the puree through a sieve (or a food grinder would work as well) to avoid having seeds and pulpy stuff in your soup- I prefer a smooth soup but if you like it more rustic, you can skip this step. Cook soup over medium low heat until the flavors meld- about 15-20 minutes or so. If it seems too thick, you can add the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

For the cheese toasts (optional):
Brush the toasts with olive oil and grill on a panini maker; top with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly.

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