Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Pesto Croutons

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett
If you serve the soup cold, stir in an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Yield:

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from

Recipe Time

Prep: 20 Minutes
Cook: 35 Minutes
Cool: 10 Minutes

Ingredients

1/4 cup refrigerated pesto, at room temperature
6 sourdough bread slices
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes: fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, shaved Parmesan cheese

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pesto on 1 side of each bread slice. Cut each bread slice into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes. Place bread cubes in a single layer on a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

2. Bake at 350° for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden, turning once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.

3. Melt butter with oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in bell peppers and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 10 minutes.

4. Process red pepper mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor 8 to 10 seconds until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return red pepper mixture to Dutch oven; stir in half-and-half and parsley, and cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Ladle soup into 6 bowls; top with croutons. Garnish, if desired.

Note:

Amanda Fremouw, Franklin, Tennessee,

May 2008