Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tomato Basil Bisque with Prosciutto and Smoked Provolone Paninis

I'm back! After taking a break for my wedding, I'm so excited to be back and blogging again! I have redesigned my blog's look, and its contents will differ slightly from the past as well. I will be presenting newer, fresher recipes that are the best of the best that I cook. In the past, I would post most everything I made- but now you will only get the BEST recipes I create! I am also going to be adding some restaurant reviews, along with pictures and recreated recipes, to feature the fabulous Twin Cities dining that I frequently enjoy.

So- on to the good stuff! Today I made a big pot of Tomato Basil Bisque and served it with simple Prosciutto and Smoked Provolone Paninis (perfect for dipping!). The bisque was fantastic- creamy, comforting, flavorful and special. I knew it'd be good from the moment I began sauteing the onions in butter. There is something SO appealing about the smell and sound of onions in butter. Add garlic, and it's a real delight! This soup is easy to make, uses ingredients easily kept on hand, and will last for lunch all week!

Tomato Basil Bisque
Creamy, comforting and easy!
Serves 8

3 T. butter
3 medium white onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
48 oz. canned, diced tomatoes
2 cups half and half
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 40 minutes; stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Blend in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary. Stir in half and half. Sprinkle with fresh basil and blend again until completely pureed.

Recipe adapted from Mad About Food cookbook

Prosciutto and Smoked Provolone Paninis
These delicious sandwiches were made to dip in tomato soup!
Makes 1 sandwich

2 slices good rustic bread (I used rosemary boule)
2 slices prosciutto
2 slices smoked provolone cheese
olive oil

Heat panini press or skillet over medium heat. Assemble sandwich and drizzle outside bread slices with olive oil. Cook in panini press until cheese is melted and bread is lightly browned and toasty. If using a skillet cook one side at a time using another skillet to press down on sandwich. Enjoy with Tomato Basil Bisque.