Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tomato and mascarpone soup

With my workplace's limited catering arrangements, investing in a food flask was one of the best decisions I've ever made. And one of my favourite things to put in it has been this tomato and mascarpone soup. It's simple, cheap, quick, and keeps me in work lunches for the best part of a week. As with most of my cooking, this is a recipe that can be adjusted to include the flavours you like.

Recipe (enough for around 4-ish lunchtime portions):

400g tin of good quality chopped (or whole) tomatoes in juice
1 tinful of water
1 tblsp tomato puree
Small handful of roughly chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
1 medium leek, finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
A bay leaf
0.5 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mixed dried herbs (or a larger amount of freshly chopped, soft herbs like basil)
Around 125g mascarpone cheese
Few tblsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized saucepan, and put in the leeks and bay leaf. Leave the leeks to soften for around 10 minutes or so. When they are cooked through, add the garlic, chilli, and herbs, stir for a few minutes and then put in the tomatoes. The fresh tomatoes really are optional, and I tend to chuck them in if I've got some that need to be used up. Fill the empty tin of tomatoes with water and pour this in too, along with the puree. Stir everything, add a bit of salt and pepper, and simmer for around 15 minutes or so. At this stage what you should have is basically a slightly thin tomato sauce. Turn the heat off and then add the mascarpone cheese. Stir this in, and leave the soup to cool for a bit. Once it's just warm, rather than piping hot, blend the soup with a stick blender (or equivalent) and check the seasoning again.

I then heat up portions of soup in the microwave and take it to work in my food flask for desk consumption. The mascarpone makes this surprisingly filling for a soup, and the whole thing is just very warming and tasty. This soup would also work well over the Christmas holidays, when you might want something you can make in bulk and re-heat as needed. And on that note, I'd like to say merry crimbo readers and see you in 2013!

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