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Winter Tomato Soup with Cheesy Croutons

Winter Tomato Soup with Cheesy Croutons


• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 large carrot, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
• 6 saffron threads
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 28oz can San Marzano or whole Jersey tomatoes
• 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 loaf Rustic Italian
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. dried oregano
• 1 tsp. dried basil
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• ½ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
• Salt and pepper to taste


• Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or heavy Dutch oven over medium heat.
• When butter is melted and sizzling, add onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
• Add garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, saffron and a generous pinch of salt and pepper; stir to coat and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
• Add bay leaf, entire can of tomato (with juices) and chicken broth.
• Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium.
• Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
• Transfer soup to a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids) or use an immersion blender to blend soup until smooth.
• Return to saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in cream.
• Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
• While soup is simmering, prepare your croutons. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
• Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
• Toss bread cubes in a bowl with olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
• Add the olive oil a little bit at a time, tossing well to ensure the bread cubes are evenly coated.
• Spread bread cubes in a single layer on prepared sheet pan.
• Bake for 5 minutes, then toss, and bake for 3 to 4 minutes more or until bread is crispy and golden brown.
• Slice cheese into thin slices, then cut slices into 1-inch squares.
• Arrange the squares of cheese individually on top of each crouton (it’s a bit tedious I know, but this will result in more cheese staying on the bread and less burnt to the baking pan than if you used shredded cheese).
• Bake for 2 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
• To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls.
• Top with a few cheese croutons (continue to add fresh croutons to your soup as you eat as they will get soggy pretty quickly) along with a sprinkle of black pepper and torn fresh basil leaves or microgreens if desired.

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