Recipe: Pappa al pomodoro


This is a simple and delicious Tuscan soup. It’s great for kids (in fact la pappa is what Italian parents call baby food) and a perfect way to use day-old bread. In the late summer, I use over ripe tomatoes when the fruits are at their peak. During the rest of the year, it’s ok to use a good quality canned tomato.

Pappa al pomodoro
By Steve Samson

2 lb. ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 lb. cubed rustic Italian bread, such as ciabatta, ideally a day or more old. If the bread is fresh, dry the cubes in a 300 degree oven
1 thinly sliced medium yellow onion
3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
5 basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauce pot. Add the onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook until soft over medium low heat.
2. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves, raise the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes break down, about 20 minutes.
3. I put the tomato sauce through a food mill. You can also pulse in a food processor and then pass through a medium sieve. This eliminates the tomato skin and seeds.
4. Put the passed sauce back into the pot over low heat. Add the bread and cook for another ten minutes until the bread is soft and has absorbed the tomato sauce.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.