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Tomato Gnocci Soup with Grilled Triple Cheese Sandwiches

There are several couples throughout time that one should never even dream of tearing apart. Bread & Butter, Salt & Pepper, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and, my personal favorite, Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. Having worked as a Cheese Monger, I have been bestowed with the gift of knowing a pretty fair amount about cheese… incredible cheese. It should come as no surprise that deciding the appropriate array of fromages to sandwich between two of the most divine slices of bread is more exciting to me than any wild Friday night. After choosing the perfect blend of a sharp, crystalized cheese, versus one that has a soft buttery finish, it’s only necessary to choose from the ripest tomatoes to slow cook, and blend to perfection. After all, in the end, it’s all about finding the perfect balance in anything, right?

Servings: 2

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

  • 2-4 Slices of Sourdough Bread (Or any bread that you prefer)
  • 1/2 Cup (Don’t judge) Good quality European Butter at room temperature (Kerrygold and Plugra are my favorite)
  • At least 2, PREFERABLY 3, cheeses
    • 1 soft ripened cow, 1 semi soft sheeps, and 1 hard with tons of salt crystals
      • For this particular sandwich I took a trip to SAY CHEESE in Silverlake to load up on imported cheeses that are often more difficult to find- while it was difficult to narrow it down I picked up P’tite Basque, Brillat-Savarin, and Raclette.
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 Tbsp. of your favorite Dijon (I used a Provencal Dijon that I love from Trader Joe’s)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Tomato & Gnocci Soup:

  • 1 Pack of Vine Ripened Tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Small Carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 Fresh Basil Leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 Quart Chicken Stock, or Vegetable Stock  I really love to use homemade stock. Any time I find myself with left over veggies or meat, that isn’t going to sweet little Henry-Boy I always take an extra 30-40 minutes to throw it into a pot with water, salt, and a bay leaf. Bring it to room temperature and store in an air tight container, or ziplock baggie for up to a month. If using store bought- always opt for the low-sodium version.
  • 1/4 Cup left over White Wine
  • 1 Pack of Gnocci
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

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Instructions:

For the Tomato Soup:

  1. In a large pot (cast iron if available), heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute Onions, Garlic, and Carrots until fragrant and slightly browned.
  2. Add Tomato Paste and continue to cook until all ingredients are starting to break down and become one.
  3. At this point you can add all of your beautiful tomatoes to the equation, stirring to combine all the flavors.
  4. Once all the ingredients are fragrant, and the tomatoes are more juicy, add your stock, and seasoning.
  5. Reduce heat and slowly simmer for 20-30 minutes while you prepare your Grilled Cheese.
  6. Once all the flavors have really had a chance to stew for a while, remove from heat and add 3/4 of the amount of soup to a heat safe blender. (I’m aware they’re pricy- but I have to point out what an amazing investment I believe a Vita-Mix to be)
  7. Blend the soup almost completley. (Be sure to take every precaution possible to ensure that once that blender is turned on there’s no chance of burning yourself if it overflows. I suggest holding a tea towel over the top with enough preassure to avoid any spills)
  8. Add back to the pot, with the Gnocci and thinly sliced Basil. Bring to a slow boil, stirring to avoid the soup burning to the bottom. 
  9. Your Tomato Soup is now ready to meet your Grilled Cheese.

For the Grilled Cheese:

  1. In a small saute pan cook onions until browned and crispy, and set aside.
  2. Butter one side of a slice of bread, and set down. Layer the cheese in a neat pattern so that it melts more evenly.
  3. On the second slice of bread, spread Dijon generously.
  4. Just before you sandwich the cheese add a heap of onions to the top of the cheese.
  5. In a hot, buttered non-stick skillet(or griddle) place buttered side of the sandwich down first.
  6. Once you put it into the pan press the the sandwich down to aid in the melting process.
  7. Butter the top slice of bread so that, when the cheese starts to melt and the bread starts to brown on the edges, you can turn over the sandwich and brown the second side. 
  8. At the perfect point of melted, crispiness your sandwich will be ready to remove from the heat.
  9. Slice to your liking and introduce to your Tomato Soup.

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