2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 carton (32 oz.) vegetable or chicken broth
½ cup (1 stick) butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half & half
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, Italian seasoning and broth in a 5 qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
If you prefer a smoother soup, use an immersion blender or regular blender to process the soup (in batches, if necessary) until smooth. (If you used a regular blender, return the mixture back to the slow cooker.) About 30-45 minutes before serving, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly. Slowly add the half & half, whisking constantly. Cook mixture until smooth and thoroughly combined. Remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir until melted. Add this mixture to the slow cooker and stir well. Cover the slow cooker and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes.
Personally, I just prefer buying the bread bowls but here is the recipe that came with the soup recipe so you can make your own, if you prefer.
For the bread bowls:
1 cup + 3 tbsp. warm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
2½ tsp. active dry yeast
To make the bread bowls:
Place ingredients in a bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the dough setting.
When the cycle is complete, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 400°F for 18-23 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Allow to cool.
To serve: Cut off the top portion of the bread. Carefully hollow out the bowl leaving a ¼-inch shell. Fill the bowl with soup.
Note: Recipe and picture from www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com