2 tbsp. olive oil
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 roasted red peppers, homemade or store-bought
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
4 thick slices of Italian-style bread, toasted (day old)
1 garlic clove, for rubbing on toasted bread
4 thick slices of tomato
2 cups grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sprig of parsley, for garnishing (optional)
Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until bacon is golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add onions, garlic, roasted peppers, and cook until onions soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, tomato paste and rosemary, cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
Using a blender or immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup whipping cream and heat through. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add more whipping cream or stock to thin soup, if needed. Keep warm.
Toast bread slices until golden brown. Rub each slice with garlic clove until fragrant.
Ladle soup into large oven-proof bowls or crocks. Top each with toasted bread and slice of tomato. Sprinkle with grated Gruyère cheese and a little Parmesan cheese.
Broil until cheese melts and bubbles, about 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with sprig of parsley.
Yield: 4 servings.