Roast Tomato Soup with Mascarpone

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We were travelling with some friends in Italy, trying to find a place to stay in the Chianti region. Even though it was very late in the afternoon, the little country inn we eventually found offered us lunch as we obviously looked tired and hungry. This wonderful soup was rustled up in minutes and served with delicious chilled local vino bianco and chunks of their own bread.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg plum tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • About 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 8 good-quality anchovy fillets
  • Sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • 8–12 spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

Halve the tomatoes, arrange them cut side up in a roasting pan in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10–15 minutes until soft and darkened in colour. Allow to cool, then chop coarsely, including the skins.

In a heavy-based pan, heat the olive oil and gently cook the onion, garlic, chilli flakes, fennel seeds and anchovy fillets until the onion is translucent and the anchovies have dissolved.

Add the chopped tomatoes with all their juices, the rosemary and a splash of water if a bit dry. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat. The soup should be chunky.

Dot the mascarpone over the soup and drizzle with olive oil to serve.

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