Monday, July 19, 2010

Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro
Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro is a classic Italian soup from Tuscany that is rich and velvety with a blend of tomatoes, garlic, basil and stale bread. The flavors are simple but the soup is anything but.

We are in the throes of a heatwave here and soup is the last thing on my table as of late, but with tomatoes bursting red-ripe this year after a terrible blight last summer, I can hardly contain myself when it comes to the many delicious versions of tomato soup available.

Give this one a try and I promise you'll get cravings out of the blue for it later on.

Canned tomatoes are the best for this and I prefer San Marzano, which are tomatoes grown near Pompeii in rich volcanic soil and are sweeter and more flavorful than others. I also like my own home-grown plum tomatoes, but when I don't have or can't find either of those, just plain old canned tomatoes will do.

The bread should be stale by 2 days minimum and very crusty. Although Parmesan is not the usual, I really like it on this soup.

Pappa al Pomodoro
Printable Recipe
Ready In 30 minutes
Serves 4


1 can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
30 basil leaves - torn or roughly chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups two-day-old crusty bread torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup good quality shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot and add garlic and basil. Stir until fragrant and add tomatoes with juice and stock.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer and mash tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. They don't need to be completely crushed. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
3. Add bread pieces and stir well. Let the bread soak up the juices and then stir until smooth an velvety. Salt to taste.
4. Serve with fresh basil and Parmesan atop.


skdd said...

This is one I will cook because I love all the ingredients.

Jaliya said...

Yum ... sounds wonderful! Thank you, Anne :-)

I'm curious (I'm not the most knowledgeable cook ...) about one thing: Why stale bread? Would fresher bread end up as mush?

Anne said...

Jaliya - Exactly! The stale crusty bread gives it lovely body and fresh bread wouldn't have the same 'thickening' power.

noblenourishment said...

Anne... this looks sublime! Am I right in thinking that you dont add the bread until the heat has been turned off? I must try this! :)

Anne said...

Noble - thank you! I think right at the end on or off heat is fine. As long as it breaks down just enough to really thicken, it's good!

Magic of Spice said...

Lovely soup, I had a version of this years ago while dinning out but have not seen again. Wonderful ingredients :) And looks delicious...