Have you tried Panera's creamy tomato soup with asiago croutons?
If you have, then you know how each bite makes you moan with satisfaction.
It's creamy and spicy and cheesy and expensive!
I can't afford to take my family to Panera every time I crave this winter-time soup!
So that's why I've come up with my own knock-off version of it.
And it tastes pretty darn similar if I do say so myself.
Here it is.
Heidi's Panera's creamy tomato soup
Coat bottom of large sauce pan with olive oil over med-high heat.
Add small chopped onion and cook for 5 min.
Add spices: 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 T chopped garlic.
Remove from heat and stir.
Add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and put back on the heat.
Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt.
Add 2 cups of water.
Bring to a boil and let simmer about 15 min.
Add 4 oz cream
(note: if it tastes too acidic, you can try adding a 1/4 tsp of baking soda)
The above by itself is pretty good. But if you ask me, this soup is all about the croutons.
What I did was buy a good foccacia bread that is topped with as much asiago cheese as you can find. (Or I suppose you could buy a loaf of Panera's Asiago bread, but then you might as well go ahead and buy yourself some soup while you are there.) Cut the bread into one inch chunks and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, toss, and bake in a 200 degree oven until they are dried out and crunchy.
Top them on your soup and you could garnish with asiago or parmesian cheese.