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Roasted Tomato and Mascarpone Soup with Parmesan Croutons

ingredients

serves 6
1 kg vine-ripened tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1 litre vegetable stock
250 g mascarpone cheese

For the croutons
4 slices of 3-day-old, thick-sliced white bread
4 tbsp olive oil
25 g fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas 6. Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally and season. Arrange on to a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until softened.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and paprika for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes to the pan with the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, or use a hand blender in the original pan. If you want your soup perfectly smooth and pip-free, pass it through a sieve into a clean pan.

4. Stir in the mascarpone and heat gently until the cheese melts and you have a creamy, smooth soup. Make sure the soup doesn't bubble too vigorously or it may separate.

5. To make the croutons, remove the crusts from the bread and cut into cubes. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the bread. Cook over a medium heat turning constantly until the cubes are golden all over (about 2 to 3 minutes). Drain on to absorbent kitchen paper and, while the croutons are still warm, toss with the Parmesan.

6. Serve soup topped with the croutons

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