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Spinach et Mascarpone Soup

ingredients

serves 4
60 g (2 oz) 1/4 cup butter
1 bunch spring onions (scallions), trimmed and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
350 g (12 oz) 3 cups spinach or sorrel, or 3 bunches watercress
850 ml (1 1/2 pints) 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
225 g (8 oz) 1 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bread, cut into cubes 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
salt and pepper
sesame bread sticks, to serve

method

1. Melt half the butter in a very large saucepan. Add the spring onions (scallions) and celery and cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until softened.

2. Pack the spinach, sorrel or watercress into the saucepan. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil; then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 - 20 minutes.

3. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, or pass through a sieve. Return to the saucepan.

4. Add the Mascarpone cheese to the soup and heat gently, stirring, until smooth and blended. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

5 Heat the remaining butter with the oil in a frying pan (skillet). Add the bread cubes and fry in the hot oil until golden brown, adding the caraway seeds towards the end of cooking, so that they do not burn.

6 Ladle the soup into 4 warmed bowls. Sprinkle with the croutons and serve at once, accompanied by the sesame bread sticks.

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