Paul and I are both December babies. Only two days apart, actually, with my birth occurring first. So, one more year under our belts and one more year of me teasing how lucky he is to have married an older, experienced, wiser woman.
Also another year where sister Jen hosted an incredible combo birthday brunch for us.
Without fail, there is always something new that I devour and that leaves me pleading for the recipe.
I fell in love immediately, and after 3 servings, I was so stuffed I barely had room for dessert. Trevor – who’s not fond of soup, remember? – even cleaned his bowl. Monumental win.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- Large pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Acini di Pepe pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron (if using), and salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, add in the tiny pasta and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Turn off heat, cover the pot of soup, and let rest while you make your croutons (this will allow the pasta to plump up a bit more.)
- Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.
- Grill the sandwiches on a panini grill for about 4 minutes, until nicely browned (or in a frying pan for 2 minutes a side.) Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Serve hot soup with the grilled cheese croutons scattered on top.