There’s no comfort food quite as quintessential as grilled cheese and tomato soup, but, let’s face it, without the toasty, gooey sandwich, you’re left with a bowl of “not much going on” – the bridesmaid rather than the bride. I love the flavor of tomato soup and this recipe below is my attempt to give it a makeover, make it a bit heartier, give it enough oomph to take the spotlight, rather than stay the eternal sidekick. Artichoke hearts and plump spinach tortellini as well as a few handfuls of extra-sharp white cheddar turn this soup into ultimate comfort fare; you won’t even miss the sandwich.
Creamy Tomato Artichoke Soup with Tortellini
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white wine
- 28 oz. canned whole tomatoes in puree, broken in smaller pieces with your hands
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 9-oz. bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and roughly chopped
- 1 10 oz. package refrigerated tortellini (spinach or cheese flavor)
- 1 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté onions on high heat in a bit of oil until softened. Add crushed garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and flour and stir until tomato paste and flour darken and stick to the bottom of the pot, making a lovely fond (those browned bits on the bottom of the pot). Add white wine and scrape up all the browned bits. Add tomatoes in puree and chicken stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Carefully purée soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and rewarm over medium heat. Add artichoke hearts and heat through for about 5 minutes. Add tortellini and cook through, another 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in white cheddar cheese and cream until cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional cheese for garnish. Turn your back on the grilled cheese and enjoy.