This traditional recipe from Tuscany was a farmer’s dish to reuse leftover bread. It was often used as baby food. It can be served hot in winter or chilled for summer meals.
This dish is easy to make and the result is a spectacular tomato soup! It can be served as a starter or light lunch or dinner.
SERVES : 4
PREP TIME: 10 MIN
COOKING TIME : 20 MIN
450 gr (1 lb) leftover bread, ideally without salt
800 gr (1 lb 12oz) of ripe sweet tomatoes or a bottle of Passata
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 litre (1,3/4 pint) of vegetable or light chicken stock
basil-salt-pepper-sugar (if needed)-garlic
1) Make a cross on the tomatoes and throw them into a deep saucepan with boiling water. In 4 minutes you can drain the liquid and peel the tomatoes. Use the food mill to purée the tomatoes and get rid of the seeds. Alternatively, you can keep the seeds and use an immersed blender. If you don’t have good quality tomatoes you can use Italian passata from the store.
2) Put the oil in a saucepan and add 2 cloves of garlic. When golden, add the tomatoes sauce and allow the liquid to evaporate slightly. If the sauce is a bit acidic adjust with some sugar. Add some of the basil.
3) Slice the bread thin (If you really like garlic you can smear some more on top of the hard bread) and place in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and the basil, cover with the stock and let it cook. The soup is ready when the bread disappears and a dense soup is formed.
4) Serve warm with some extra virgin olive oil a leaf of basil, in a terracotta dish.
If you like spices then you can add some chili or chili oil, at the end. Some people like to add onion to the sauce sofrito or leak. If used as baby food, milk can be used instead of stock and some Parmigiano will make it a complete and nutritious meal.
The thickness of the soup can be adjusted by reducing the cooking time or the stock quantities. Also special breads can be used for this recipe, ideally olive or onions bread.
If counting calories is not an issue you can also add the bread cut into cubes straight to the sofrito, wait until golden, and then add the tomatoes. In this case, we need some extra oil. If you wish, cream or bechamel can be added to the soup.
Pappa al pomodoro became very popular all over the country when National TV aired the series “Il giornalino di Gianburrasca” and the famous singer Rita Pavone sing the title tune “W la pappa col pomodoro”.
This song is the title tune from the soundtrack of the TV series, which proved to be a giant hit in Italy when it ran in 1964.