1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 tomato, diced
3 cups good-quality chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 pound fontina cheese slices
4 ciabatta rolls
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomato, along with the broth and thyme. Simmer briefly to cook fresh tomato.
Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly. Add half of mixture to a blender or food processor; puree (be sure and place a towel over lid to avoid hot, spurting liquid). Return soup to pot and whisk in the cream. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the cheese between the 4 rolls. Place them in a preheated panini press and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted.
Makes 4 servings.