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Authentic Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro – Italian Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe

Authentic Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe

Discover the rustic charm of Tuscany with this soul-warming Pappa al Pomodoro recipe. This traditional Italian soup transforms simple ingredients into a rich, comforting meal that’s perfect for chilly evenings.

Pappa al Pomodoro, which translates to “tomato pap,” is a cherished Tuscan dish that embodies the region’s frugal yet flavorful cuisine. This humble soup ingeniously combines day-old bread with ripe tomatoes, creating a velvety texture that’s both satisfying and delicious.

While many associate this dish with summer’s bounty of fresh tomatoes, it’s actually an ideal recipe for cooler months. Using high-quality canned tomatoes allows you to enjoy this comforting soup year-round, making it a versatile addition to your recipe repertoire.

One of the beauties of Pappa al Pomodoro is its flexibility. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need stale bread to make this soup shine. Our tests have shown that fresh bread works just as well, if not better, than its older counterpart. This discovery not only speeds up the cooking process but also makes the dish more accessible for impromptu cooking.

The key to a stellar Pappa al Pomodoro lies in its simplicity and quality ingredients. A good olive oil, aromatic basil, and hearty bread form the backbone of this dish. When these elements come together, they create a soup that’s greater than the sum of its parts – a true testament to the magic of Italian cooking.

Ingredients for Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, hand-crushed, with juices
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, plus torn leaves for serving
  • 1/3 pound (about 6 ounces) fresh or stale rustic bread, torn or cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups warm vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro

  1. Begin by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and the sliced garlic, stirring until the garlic just begins to turn golden. Introduce the minced onion and cook until it softens, which should take about 5 minutes. Pour in the hand-crushed tomatoes along with their juices, add the basil sprigs, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  2. Now, it’s time to add the star of the show – the bread. Stir it into the tomato mixture, then ladle warm vegetable stock over the top, combining everything well. Allow the soup to simmer, adding more stock as needed. You’re aiming for the bread to completely soften and take on a custardy texture, while the soup thickens to a porridge-like consistency. This process usually takes about 25 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, then remove and discard the basil sprigs.
  3. To serve, ladle the Pappa al Pomodoro into bowls. Drizzle each serving generously with extra-virgin olive oil and add a fresh grind of black pepper. Crown each bowl with a scatter of torn fresh basil leaves. Your comforting Tuscan soup is now ready to be enjoyed!

Recipe Notes

While traditionally made with stale bread, our tests show that fresh bread works equally well in this soup. In fact, fresh bread softens more quickly, reducing your cooking time.

If you don’t have homemade vegetable stock on hand, you can use store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or even water as a substitute.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
258 Calories
12g Fat
33g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 258
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 505mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 31mg 153%
Calcium 98mg 8%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 626mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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