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Tomato and bread soup in a bowl on a wooden board
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Scrape-the-Bowl Pappa Al Pomodoro

This warm, homemade soup makes a delicious main course, served with nothing more than a bright green salad or a few green beans drizzled with lemon and olive oil. But you can pass it off as a side dish. For those like me who don't like the hassle of preparing lunches for work, you'll be happy to find that leftovers—quickly reheated in the microwave or preheated to put in a Thermos—make very happy meals.
Prep Time15 d
Cook Time40 d
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 kg Italian tomatoes, quartered and quartered or a 28-32-ounce can of organic tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs basil
  • ¼ loaf Italian bread rustic or country bread, stale or fresh, crust removed, and crumb cut into 2-in cubes (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or 3 cups of water + 1 tablespoon/1 cube vegetable broth powder

Instructions

  • Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. In a large 4-liter saucepan or casserole, heat oil over moderately high heat until heated through, but without smoking and sauté onion and garlic, stirring, until that they are softened. Stir the tomatoes and their juices into the onion mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Select the leaves from the basil sprigs, set the leaves aside and add the stems to the tomato mixture. Cook the mixture long enough for the tomato to melt and break down a bit, about 5 to 10 minutes or until the tomato mixture turns the orange-red color characteristic of cooked tomatoes.
  • While the tomato mixture is simmering, discard the crust on bread and cut enough bread into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes to measure 2 cups.
  • Back to the tomato mixture, remove and discard the basil stalk. Using kitchen scissors, cut the basil leaves into coarse strips and add them to the casserole dish.
  • Add the bread and broth to the tomato mixture and simmer with a lid, stirring occasionally, until the bread has absorbed the liquid and the soup is thick, about 40 minutes. Season the soup with salt.
  • Remove the casserole dish from the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes in a warm place, so that the bread can soften and absorb the liquid.
  • When ready to serve the pappa, stir it roughly to break the bread and taste it again. Adjust if necessary by stirring another drizzle of olive oil to enrich the finished dish. Serve hot with freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

Choose top-notch ingredients: 
  • Go for very ripe tomatoes, such as heirloom tomatoes such as heart beef or Roma. At worst, take some canned tomatoes, like San Marziano or good quality. Or add oven-roasted cherry tomatoes to regular canned tomatoes. As for the bread, select unsalted country bread (Tuscan or other) and the best extra-virgin olive oil.
  • As for the bread, select unsalted country bread (Tuscan or other) and the best extra virgin olive oil.
Cook the porridge in the right pot: if possible, simmer the soup in an enameled cast-iron pot or in an earthenware pot for a most comforting dish.
Counter acidity, if necessary: ​​add a pinch or two of sugar if the mixture is too acidic.
Whether served hot, warm, or chilled like a Spanish gazpacho, pappa al pomodoro is a versatile dish. It can be served as a main course or as a side dish with a green salad, other dishes of vegetables or vegetable protein, such as a few green beans drizzled with lemon and olive oil. For a contrast of textures, add croutons (as in the photo).