Potato, porcini and rosemary soup

Serves 4

180g/6oz dried porcini

300ml/1/2 pint warm water

120ml/4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

6 sprigs rosemary, leaves only

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 small dried red chilli

1kg/2lb Roseval potatoes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60g/21/2oz Parmesan, grated

The juice of half a lemon

A bunch of curly parsley, leaves only, very finely chopped

Place the porcini in a bowl. Pour over the warm water and leave for 10 minutes to allow the porcini to soften and the water to become infused with their lovely, musty flavour.

Place a large heavy-based pan over a low heat, add a tablespoon of the oil and, when just warm, add the shallots. Cook over a low heat for five minutes to soften.

Chop the rosemary finely and add to the shallots along with the garlic. Crumble over the chilli and stir well to combine.

Slice the potatoes into quarter-inch rounds (do not bother to peel, as the skin is delicious). Strain the porcini, reserving the infused water. Chop fairly roughly and add to the pan with the potatoes.

Add the rest of the olive oil, a good pinch of sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Pour in the reserved water and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender and beginning to fall apart. Add the Parmesan and the lemon juice. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley, taste one final time and add what you feel is necessary – perhaps a little more pepper and a pinch or two of salt. Ladle into warm bowls and serve.

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