The Life Kitchen: Roast tomato soup with mascarpone

Ingredients to serve 4-6

1.5kg plum tomatoes
sea salt
about 100ml 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
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
8-12 spoonfuls of mascarpone

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 home-made bread.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 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.

From 'Today's Special: A New Take On Bistro Food' by Anthony Demetre (Quadrille, £20)

Sommelier's choice

Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana, Spain

Majestic Wine, £7.49 (until 27 October)

Hidalgo's La Gitana Manzanilla is the perfect accompaniment to this soup. Matured in the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, this dry, light, crisp and tangy sherry is best served chilled.

www.majestic.co.uk

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