Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup…and Heather Christo’s Generous Table Giveaway!

Who better to invite to our month-long celebration of grilled cheese than my friend – celebration guru extraordinaire – Heather Christo? Today’s recipe for Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cambozola and Bacon Sandwiches comes from her stunningly gorgeous new cookbook, Heather Christo’s Generous Table. Later in this post you’ll have the chance to win an autographed copy of this book so be sure to read on (trust me, you want this one!).

Find Heather Christo's Generous Table on Amazon

Heather Christo is one of those people who radiates warmth and friendliness from the moment you meet her. She is one of my very favorite bloggers to read and to catch up with in person (as we will do this coming weekend!). Not only is she an amazing cook (a trained chef, in fact) but she’s also all about sharing the love of food with friends and family.

A unique aspect of Heather Christo’s Generous Table is the way in which it’s organized. There’s a chapter for each season, and then within each season are menus and recipes for five different occasions. So, for example, the chapter for spring features menus and recipes for events like a Tea Party Shower and Greek Easter Fest (with recipes passed down from her mother-in-law), while the winter section offers options for a Snow Day Lunch and a Holiday Dinner Party.

Heather Christo's Generous Table

The recipes, beautifully photographed by Heather herself, reflect her style of preparing elegant-yet-accessible, seasonally-inspired food. Dishes like Asparagus Walnut Pesto Linguini, Seared Scallops with Artichoke Pesto and a Lemon Tart with an Almond Shortbread Crust made me want to start texting all my local friends to come over so we could partake in these! But there’s really no reason to wait for company, these dishes are simple enough for everyday cooking as well. Each menu, by the way, also features a fun cocktail because, as Heather says, “we can all use a good drink at the end of a long day!”

Since it’s Grilled Cheese Month here on Panini Happy, I naturally gravitated to Heather’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cambozola and Bacon Sandwiches recipe, which is included in her New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party spread. If you enjoyed my Brie, Basil, Bacon and Blue Panini, this sandwich will be right up your alley. It, too, has bacon and basil, but rather than Brie and blue cheese Heather uses Cambozola cheese, which is very much like Brie and blue cheese all in one (where has this cheese been all my life?). The pairing with a robust, homemade tomato basil soup is, of course, classic. You can either serve mini-sized sandwiches as appetizers alongside soup shots, or do as I did and enjoy them as a perfectly satisfying lunch.

 ** Win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Heather Christo’s Generous Table!! ** [THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

**UPDATE 5/9/13: Congratulations to our winner, #32 Jenny!

Heather has graciously offered one Panini Happy reader a signed copy of her beautiful book.


  • Leave a comment below telling us about one of your favorite dishes to prepare for your friends or family.

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM PDT. I will use to select one winner and announce the winner in this post. I will contact the winner via e-mail – if I don’t receive a response within 5 days I will draw another name. My apologies to my international readers, the prize can only be shipped to U.S. addresses.

Grilled Cambozola, Bacon and Basil Sandwich from Heather Christo's Generous Table


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cambozola and Bacon Sandwiches

From Heather Christo’s Generous Table, by Heather Christo

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 60 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup:

  • 3 pounds tomatoes, preferably on the vine
  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Grilled Cambozola and Bacon Sandwiches:

  • 8 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 8 ounces Cambozola cheese
  • 8 thin slices rustic bread
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. First make the soup. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  3. In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until tender, about 5 minutes. (It is okay if the onion starts to caramelize).
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins and add the garlic, tomatoes, and any juices into the soup pot, along with the basil and chicken stock. Adjust the heat to medium-high and cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sandwiches. Cook the bacon in a medium pan over medium-high heat until all of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is very crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  6. Divide the Cambozola among 4 bread slices and top each with a few leaves of basil and 2 strips of crispy bacon. Top the fillings with the second piece of bread so you have 4 sandwiches.
  7. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium heat. Add the butter, a few teaspoons for each sandwich, and fry the sandwiches in batches until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the sandwiches (adding more butter) and cook until both sides are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and slice each into 6 small pieces. (Kathy’s note: If you’d like to use your panini press, heat it to medium-high heat and grill the sandwiches with the lid closed until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.)
  8. Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. Stir in (do not blend!) the heavy cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  9. Serve the sandwiches hot alongside the tomato soup.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. erin wrote:

    grilled veggie/chicken/steak fajitas. you can chop everything and marinade ahead of time so all you need to do is grill. plenty of time to spend with your guests!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  2. Angela wrote:

    There is always something nice about making a lasagna. It can fit almost all dietary restricts with modifications.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  3. MaryBeth wrote:

    One of my favorite dishes to prepare for guests in the winter months is stuffed shells or lasagna with a hearty meat sauce. In spring or summer, I rely on my grill for simple grilled meat/fish served with a giant garden salad. This books look gorgeous and I’d love to add it to my cookbook collection!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  4. Marthalynn wrote:

    One of my favorite family dishes is a slow-cooked beef au jus! We make sandwiches for days from that delicious meat.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  5. That sandwich looks awesome! My favorite dish to serve to family and friends would have to be a dessert. I love seeing their reaction when something decadent is revealed, cakes especially!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  6. Rose S. wrote:

    I love to treat guests to my yogurt chicken recipe. Everyone always asks for the recipe after tasting it.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  7. Christina wrote:

    One of my favorite dishes to make for family is a roasted chicken, scalloped potatoes, and roasted asparagus. Everyone loves it, such a crowd pleaser. I also love making thanksgiving dinner for family and friends!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  8. Elin wrote:

    I love making birthday cakes for people. I try to do a variation on a signature cake for each person.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  9. Jacqui wrote:

    My favorite recipe to prepare for my family is spaghetti squash!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  10. Lauren wrote:

    I love to make Caprese Chicken for my friends and family and serve it with Goat Cheese & Rosemary Ravioli!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  11. Ronald Manley wrote:


    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  12. LisaH wrote:

    My favorite thing to fix for my family is a brisket with a molasses brown sugar bourbon glaze.
    It is always a winner and makes great leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  13. Madeline wrote:

    I like making my pomegranate chicken, grilled until the skin is crisp and the chicken is juicy!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  14. Ilona Blonk - van Kruijl wrote:

    My favorite dish to make for my family is a typical dutch dish for cold winter days; Borecole/Kale.
    Sausages, Bacon, Borecole in the wok after that in a baking dish with mashed potatoes and cheese on top. Apple sauce as a side dish.
    Great dish to keep the family warm in the winter!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  15. Heather wrote:

    My favorite dish to make for my family is Jamie Oliver’s posh chicken with fresh asparagus made on the Cuisinart panini grill with brown rice as a side. Chopped leftovers in a wrap taste great the next day.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  16. Erin W wrote:

    I love making quesadillas for friends and family on my panini maker. Served with roasted broccoli is delish.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  17. BJ wrote:

    Fondue is so much fun with friends.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  18. I love making dishes that my whole family can eat – there’s a whole slew of dietary needs, so when I can make something that’s delicious and everyone can enjoy, it’s always a success!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  19. Kristen M. wrote:

    I like making chicken parmigiana for family & friends.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  20. Laura C. wrote:

    One of my favorite dishes to prepare for my friends/family would have to be shredded beef enchiladas with black beans and spanish rice!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  21. nessa wrote:

    I love making all kinds of desserts for my family, especially oreo truffles. Yum!!!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  22. Grilled cheese + tomato soup = perfection! 🙂

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  23. barbara n wrote:

    My favorite dish to prepare for family and friends is pasta…everyone loves it and you can make it as fancy as you want by changing up the meat or adding veggies

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  24. Diona wrote:

    Lasagnas are my favorite dishes to prepare for friends and family. They can be huge productions, but they never fail to feel 100% worth the effort.

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  25. Meighan wrote:

    I like to make lasagna!

    Posted 4.25.13 Reply
  26. This sandwich looks amazing!
    I like to prepare comfort foods that are my families favorite. Recently went to my brother and made everyone Chicken and dumplings and everyone loved it!

    Posted 4.26.13 Reply
  27. Alice wrote:

    Thanks to your inspiration, I like to make panini! We try to be creative, but it’s also hard to resist falling back on the classic onion, tomato, basil and cheese…

    Posted 4.26.13 Reply
  28. Anne B wrote:

    Tacos or some pasta dish

    Posted 4.26.13 Reply
  29. WyoDi wrote:

    Breakfast casserole on Christmas morning. It bakes while we exchange gifts. My adult children have continued this tradition I began.

    Posted 4.27.13 Reply
  30. Renee G wrote:

    I like making barbecued chicken for family and friends.

    Posted 4.27.13 Reply
  31. Teresa Organ wrote:

    One of my favorite dishes to prepare for my family is a chicken dish called Company Casserole.

    Posted 4.28.13 Reply
  32. Jenny wrote:

    I haven’t been able to host a holiday yet – but I know that for my husband & I, I love to make either a) homemade pasta sauce, or b) a batch of risotto. Yum!

    Posted 4.28.13 Reply
  33. looks like a great book!

    Posted 4.28.13 Reply
  34. This sandwich looks amazing! I love baking for family and friends 🙂

    Posted 4.28.13 Reply
  35. Rachel Davidson wrote:

    I love preparing amazing desserts to bring to pot lucks or other people’s houses. My favorite to prepare for myself and my college roomies is homemade mac and cheese

    Posted 4.30.13 Reply
  36. I love baking cinnamon rolls for my mom and brothers – they just devour them!

    Posted 5.6.13 Reply