I believe that a little cheese and omega fats never hurt anybody. This is my new favorite meal (for now anyway ). Though it does contain fat and cheese it also has plenty of fresh veg and we can all agree that’s a good thing. Write this one down, you’re going to love it!
10-12 Fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes
1 cup fresh arugula
1/4 cup fresh chopped oregano
4-6 cloves garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup whole milk, cream, half and half or fat free half and half
3-6 shiitake mushrooms
1/3 lb fresh grated cave aged Gruyère
1/4 lb fresh grated parmesan
1/4 lb fresh grated Asiago
8 slices of yummy bread (I used a fresh loaf of 10 grain from Central Market)
Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a stock pot or dutch oven on medium/high heat. Quarter the tomatoes and peel the garlic then puree in a blender or food processor. Add the tomato puree to the hot pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 15-20 minutes or until about 1/4 of the juice is reduced. Prepare your other ingredients (or give baby a bath ) while puree is reducing.
Chop arugula and oregano however you feel like it (separately)! Same goes for the mushrooms, I like a medium dice but you could slice or mince them if you choose. Once the puree has reduced, add the oregano, 1/2 of the arugula and 1/2 of the mushrooms to the tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point, add the chicken stock. The amount is up to you depending on how thick or loose you want your soup to be. Just keep in mind that the cheese will thicken it up a bit. I used somewhere between a 1/4 cup and a 1/2 cup (I don’t measure). Let this boil for about 10-15 minutes.
While the soup boils prepare your sandwiches. Grate all of your cheeses and mix together. Reserve half of the mixture for the soup. With the other half, layer cheese, remaining arugula and remaining shiitake onto 4 slices of bread. Top with a bit more cheese then the other 4 slices of bread. Drizzle or brush olive oil onto outside of top slice of bread.
Once your soup has again reduced after the addition of stock you can add your milk. Again, this will thin out the soup a bit so it’s up to you how much or how little. Bring up to temp again then whisk in the remaining cheese mixture slowly. When fully incorporated, reduce heat to low and cover.
In a medium saute pan, heat about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. With the oiled side up first, cook your sandwiches until golden brown on each side and cheese is melted.
This whole process took about an hour from start to finish. There is definitely some wiggle room here for those parents out there that are met with the task of simultaneously cooking dinner, cleaning up and doing bedtime routines. After I added the chicken stock, I lowered the heat just a bit so it was “simmering” rather than a full boil. This allowed me about 20 minutes to bathe, dress and read to my toddler before tucking her snugly into bed. So, even though it took an hour, it wasn’t a full undivided hour…who has that anyway??
Optional: serve soup with a sprinkle of chopped arugula, grated cheese and a light drizzle of cream.
I highly recommend dipping your sandwich in the soup (could it be eaten any other way??)
All I can say is YUM!