Pappa al Pomodoro is a thick and hearty tomato based Tuscan soup, thickened with bread. It makes use of the simplest of ingredients- tomatoes, bread, garlic and olive oil- yet it’s so rich and full of flavor. This is easily one of the most delicious soups I’ve tasted in a long time.
I only wish I’d had fresh basil while making the soup as it would have taken the flavors to a whole new level, but it was not too bad even without basil leaves. I did not want to use the dried basil that I had for this recipe.
This soup is the outcome of the recipes I saw here here and here, and is a great way to use up leftover bread.
(For 3-4 servings)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (mine also had basil, garlic and oregano)
½ onion, sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 cups stale bread, cut into cubes (I used the Italian bread that I had)
4 tbsp olive oil
Red pepper flakes
3 cups water or as required
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the cherry tomatoes (no need to halve these), the sliced onions and the garlic cloves on a baking sheet lined with foil. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well to coat the vegetables. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until vegetables are soft and caramelized.
In a large saucepan, add the can of diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes and then add the roasted vegetables to it. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with foil. I used the same baking sheet from above, just replaced the foil. Toss the bread cubes around in 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast for 15-20 minutes at 250 degrees F.
Toss the toasted bread cubes into the soup and mix well. The bread absorbs all the liquid in the soup as it cooks. Add the rest of the water. Mix well and continue to cook for some more time. Adjust the seasoning as required and keep checking and stirring the soup every now and then.
I did not like having large pieces of tomatoes in my soup, so I used my immersion blender and pureed everything just a little bit. Simmer on low-medium heat for another 5-10 minutes till the soup develops a texture similar to that of a thick and creamy porridge. Add more water or stock, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
The soup tastes even better the next day but it becomes very thick, so you would need to add some water or stock (I used milk) to thin it out. Also adjust the salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes and serve.
This soup is my entry for No Croutons Required: The Birthday Edition, hosted this month by Holler who is celebrating her birthday the entire month.
Here’s a predominantly Italian menu to go with the soup.
Parmesan cups with mango salsa
Cannellini beans with cheese and basil
Ricotta and Nutella phyllo shells
Happy Birthday, Holler!