Pesto Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato Soup

There is absolutely nothing more comforting than grilled cheese & tomato soup.

Nothing.

This is a slightly fancier, significantly tastier version of a well loved classic.

It all sounds like a bit of a faff… but I assure you, it’s actually incredibly simple and well worth the effort.

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To make enough for two (with leftovers) you’ll need:

About 14 vine tomatoes (not the huge beef ones, just firm-mediumly-sized ones, still on the vine)

3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

Handful of basil

Salt, pepper, paprika, chili flakes, olive oil

1-2 mugs of vegetable stock (depending how thick you like your soup)

For the sandwiches:

4 pieces of bread

Few slices of gouda

Butter

Big handful of basil

Half a fist sized chunk of parmesan, grated

Handful of pine nuts

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Olive oil

Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F

Place your tomatoes into a baking tray with your garlic cloves, a good drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.

Pop them into the oven for about 45mins.

While they’re cooking, whip up your pesto. Gently toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. When they’re golden put them in your food processor with your basil, parmesan, olive oil & garlic. Blend & you’re done.

When your tomatoes are roasted to perfection (the skins should have popped open and peeled up at the edges) take them out and leave them on the side to cool down.

Once they’re cold enough to handle, peel off the skins (you can throw these away but I eat them… they’re a bit like warm vegetable crisps and a little treat just for the chef!).

Throw your naked, quivering tomatoes into a blender with your stock, a pinch of paprika, a dusting of chill flakes & a fist full of basil. You can always add a good splash of cream here for double comfort points.

Blend until smooth & soup like.

If you’re hungry now, pour it into a saucepan and gently heat it up. If not, put it into a tupperwear, wait for it to get nice & cold and put it in the fridge for later.

To make your pesto grilled cheese, heat a dry frying pan on a medium heat.

Grab your bread & butter each piece, on just one side.

Smear a generous amount of your pesto onto the unbuttered side & top with a couple slices of cheese. Put the top of the sandwich on, butter side facing up. Place into the pan & weigh it down with a something flat (I used a pie dish but you can use a plate, just make sure it wont melt) & pop something heavy, like a can of beans on top. Cook for about 2mins or until the cheese starts to melt, then carefully flip it over & repeat.

Put it to one side while you make your second sandwich.

Plonk it all onto a tray, get yourself a big snuggly blanket, wriggle into the sofa and get stuck in.

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Sandwich dunking absolutely compulsory.

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Just so, so gouda.

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