Ingredients 1 red onion 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon vegetable base 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes 2 tablespoons heavy cream ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional) ¼ bunch basil ½ tablespoon butter 4 slices country-style bread 1½ ounces shredded Gruyere cheese 1½ ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1. Caramelize Onion Peel onion, halve, and cut into ¼-inch slices. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and cook until softened and browned, stirring, about 12 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until onion is caramelized and sticky, about 3 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
2. Make Soup While onion cooks, in a large pot, combine vegetable base with 3 cups water. Add fire-roasted tomatoes and their juices and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
3. Finish Soup Add cream, grated pecorino cheese, and crushed red pepper, if desired, to pot with soup. Stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Rinse basil and tear leaves into bite-size pieces, discarding stems. Stir into soup. If desired, transfer soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Keep warm over medium heat.
4. Assemble Grilled Cheese While soup simmers, spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Lay 2 slices, buttered-side down, on a clean dry surface. Sprinkle over half of shredded Gruyere, half of shredded Cheddar, and all of onion. Top with remaining shredded cheeses, then bread slices buttered-sides up.
5. Cook Grilled Cheese Wipe pan from onion clean and add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add sandwiches and gently press down with a heavy pan or plate. Cook until golden on bottom, 2- 3 minutes, then flip and cook until cheese is completely melted, 2-3 minutes more.
6. Plate Soup Cut grilled cheese into 1-inch croutons. Divide tomato soup evenly between 2 bowls, top with grilled cheese croutons, and serve. Serves 2.
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