The perfect duo in The Perfect Duo Casserole is in fact grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s obvious in hindsight: the buttery, crispy sandwiches loaded with melty cheese, just ready for dunking and dipping into the bright, creamy, scarlet soup! Mmm, sounds good already! The Perfect Duo Casserole keeps the sandwiches and uses a thick, rich tomato sauce to make sure you don’t miss the soup at all! Throw on even more cheese, because of course, and bam! You’ll understand, if you didn’t already, why these foods go together hand-in-hand.

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  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, divided
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Italian, sourdough, or rye bread
  • 6 slices mozzarella cheese, part-skim
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded


Step 1 –Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2 –Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Step 3 –In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and 1 teaspoon of the basil until blended.

Step 4 –Spread the cream cheese onto 6 slices of the bread.

Step 5 –Top the cream cheese spread with the mozzarella cheese and the remaining bread slices.

Step 6 –Spread the butter on the outside of the sandwiches.

Step 7 –Arrange the sandwiches in the prepared baking dish.

Step 8 –In a small saucepan, combine the tomato paste, the garlic, the salt, the pepper, and the remaining basil.

Step 9 –Cook and stir the tomato paste mixture over medium heat for 1 minute.

Step 10 –Gradually whisk the milk into the tomato paste mixture.

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Step 11 –Bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 12 –Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Step 13 –Transfer the saucepan from the heat.

Step 14 –Beat the eggs in a large bowl.

Step 15 –Slowly, while whisking constantly, stream in 1/3 of the milk mixture. The goal is to slowly bring the eggs’ temperature up so they do not scramble.

Step 16 –Once the eggs are tempered, add in the remaining milk mixture.

Step 17 –Pour the milk mixture over the sandwiches.

Step 18 –Sprinkle the sandwiches with the Italian cheese blend.

Step 19 –Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 25-30 minutes.

Step 20 –Let stand for 10 minutes.

Step 21 –Serve.