Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creamy Tomato Soup with Asiago Garlic Croutons

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I absolutely love Panera Bread's Creamy Tomato Soup woth Asiago Croutons.  It is one of my favorite fall flavors.  However, my budget and my waistline don't allow me to have this delicious dish as much as I would like.  I stumbled across a tomato soup recipe at Smitten Kitchen and it inspired me to add some cream and oregano to recreate my beloved soup.  It's not exact, but pretty darn close and a lot healthier too!

Creamy Tomato Soup
3 pounds plum or roma tomatoes
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I like mine spicy, adjust to your taste)
1/2 cup fat free half and half (regular half and half works too)
2 cups chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange on a foil covered sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
3. Wrap garlic in foil and place on pan with tomatoes.
4. Roast tomatoes for approximately 1 hour or until tender and starting to brown and shrink.  Cool slightly.
5. Unwrap garlic pounch and squeeze garlic into a food processor with tomatoes.  Pulse until it forms a chunky puree.
6. Pour puree into a large pot.  Add oregano, red pepper, half and half and chicken stock.  Simmer for 25 minutes or more.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Asiago Garlic Croutons
2 cups cubed asiago cheese ciabatta bread (I found mine at my local store, any type of french bread would do though)
2 T roated garlic oil (I use Wildtree brand)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place bread on a foil lined cookie sheet.
3. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
4. Bake 15 minutes, turing occassionally, or until golden brown.

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