Artichoke Mascarpone Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
3 shallots, sliced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 (8-oz) pkg frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
1/2 bay leaf
1 tablespoon thyme
4 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup cream
Salt to taste
Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, shallots, and garlic. Stir frequently. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the artichokes, stock, salt, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes) and stir frequently. Remove from heat when cooked.
Add cream after it has cooled for a few minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Add the 2 tablespoons mascarpone and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup mascarpone to soften.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a spoonful of the softened mascarpone cheese and top the cheese with chives.