Soups, Stews and Sandwiches, Vegan, Vegetarian

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Loreto September 20, 2017

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup,  a rich blend of those wonderfully ripe tomatoes, and stale bread, whipped into this velvety creamy hearty soup. Perfect for those cooler days and better yet, wonderful for the family food budget.

Song of the day: “Everything Now” by Arcade Fire.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup, inspired by a cooking class taken in Tuscany with Guilia Scarpaleggia from Jul’s Kitchen, learning Tuscan recipes of La Cucina Povera, (The Poor Kitchen), and utilizing the wonderful products from The Italian Centre Shop.

 

 

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup is not a recipe that I grew up with but has awakened many memories of Sunday mornings in our Italian kitchen. Sunday mornings were always filled with aromas, music, and singing. I would be asleep to be awakened first to the smell of a good strong coffee or espresso, the radio blaring out Italian music, my mom singing, and my dad whistling, then the startings of a good sugo (tomato sauce). I remember the aroma of those ripe tomatoes that came from my parents’ garden and my mom and dad would can them for the winter. That rich sweet stewing tomato scent took me right out of bed and into the kitchen. On Saturday we would go to the Italian store and do grocery shopping. I loved fresh pagnotta bread which housed mortadella on Saturdays and the rich pulp of the tomato sauce on Sundays. I would get the wooden spoon and get right to the bottom of the pot. The rich pulp would find its way to a substantial slice of pagnotta bread and then I would fold it and scrumptiously dive in. It was so good and one would never suffice. So when I heard about this recipe I immediately started feeling hungry remembering my childhood memories and that delicious tomato sauce sandwich.

Let’s backtrack a bit. Nicoletta and I were planning our usual trip back to Italy where of course all of Nicoletta’s family lives. We decided this time to try and get into a cooking class. After some searching, Nicoletta found a class in Tuscany featuring recipes from La Cucina Povera (the poor kitchen) offered by Guilia of the food blog Jul’s Kitchen. We were both quite excited to attend and hopped into Nicoletta’s little Fiat 500, which has a name, Guendalina, so cute, and off we were from Rome to Tuscany. A beautiful drive enjoying sunny skies and wonderful sights. Stopping in cities such as Siena, Montepulciano, Volterra, San Gimignano. Enjoying wonderful food and wine.

pappa al pomodoro

Nicoletta and Guendalina on Tuscan hills

When we first arrived at Giulia’s place I felt like I was in a scene of a movie. We were wondering if we had the right house, when out of a terrace door of an old stone villa came Giulia, smiling and waving giving us a most comforting welcome. The place was beautiful, an old farmhouse, lots of garden and a wonderful stone wood fired oven that I was drooling over. It has always been a dream to build one of these and endlessly cook in it. I just love the rusticness and technique involved with using something so primitive. The class was wonderful with several participants from all over Italy. I put my chopping skills to work as Giulia quickly gave me some prep tasks. We enjoyed making many dishes such as a bean salad, double dredged beef cutlets stewed in a rich tomato sauce, a chocolate cake made with old bread, and this delicious recipe we are sharing today called Pappa al Pomodoro. It was a lovely day spent in the countryside of Tuscany, Italy. The best part is the ending class sharing a wonderful meal on a rustic old wood table, wonderfully delicious food, intriguing conversation, and beautiful people all passionate about food.

Pappa al Pomodoro, the process begins!

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

If you go to the Italian Centre Shop these days you will see the abundance of the summer’s harvest. Peppers of all colors, romano beans, peaches, plums, and these beautifully ripe Roma tomatoes. Perfect for the recipe we are sharing today.  I grab a fresh basil plant, can’t get any fresher than that. Another favorite area of mine in the store is the bread area. All those wonderful creations of rustic goodness. Today we need a nice round pagnotta with the hole in the center. All that is left is some garlic, onion, and a good quality D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil and we are set.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

The bread is best a few days after. It becomes a bit drier and stale, perfect for the process we are going to put it through.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

The first step is to transform these lovely jewels into a sauce. In order for that to happen, we need to get the peel off by scoring the bottom and blanching them in some hot water. This allows the peel to loosen and makes it easy to peel it off.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

The next step is to puree the tomatoes in a food mill. This will ensure the seeds to be left out of the mix and all those unwanted parts that could make the sauce (sugo as we call it) bitter. We want a nice rich acidic sweetness. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes I would get a large tin of stewed San Marzano tomatoes. It will work just as well. Remember to look for the D.O.P. label, which means it is truly a product made in Italy with Italian products of the region.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

So our tomatoes are pureed, and the bread is cubed and is soaking in warm water, all we need to do is get a pot and do a little arm warm up as we are going to need them loose and ready. This Pappa al Pomodoro requires a little arm work. With the sauce thickening and the basil talking to that rich pulp, the garlic and onion schmoozing with everything in the pot. The bread has absorbed some of the water and with our hands nice and clean we start to crumble it into the pot and into the sauce. This may require a second set of hands, as at this point you have to whip the mixture with a whisk continually to get it nice and velvety. If you don’t have a second set of hands no problem just put some bread and whisk, put some more bread and whisk again.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

This continues till all the bread is crumbled in and you will see this shine happening on the top of the mixture which means it is almost ready. By this time you will feel your arm burn which could be a good thing as I don’t think there is anyone out there that likes flabby arms, lol.

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

The finishing touch, a drizzle of olive oil, some broken up fresh basil, and a quick taste for seasoning. We are ready to serve!

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

The aroma of the basil accompanying the rich tomato and bread compilation is heavenly and guaranteed to awaken any appetite really well. The first spoon in reveals this soft, velvety, creamy texture paving a pathway for the rich tomato to come through. The pulp luxurious and so comforted by the bread has just melded with it. The onion almost non-existent and melted highlighting the sweetness of the tomato. The basil giving its unmistakable freshness and joy to the mix, while the olive oil lays down the Mida’s touch, and the garlic always a welcome guest to the tomato sauce party. Absolutely glorious. I feel myself becoming a kid again, with that mischievous grin as the spoon hits the bottom of the pot and the bread will be blessed with my pillagery, lol. I am sure any of you who grew up in an Italian family remember the infamous tomato sauce sandwich!

It has been a great harvest this year, and one that has blessed many recipes to date. This dish is a wonderful way to warm up our hearts and hands, and also a great way to serve something substantial,  super delicious, and that requires very little effort to your pocketbook which is truly another blessing. If you are wondering what to do with all those tomatoes, look no further as we have the perfect solution: Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup!

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: “Everything Now” by Arcade Fire

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6 Entree servings

Pappa al Pomodoro, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg fresh, ripe, Roma tomatoes (or 750 g. canned San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 250 g stale bread, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 5 leaves basil for mixture
  • 3 leaves torn for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 3 Tbsp.e.v.o. oil for mixture
  • 2 Tbsp e.v.o. for garnishing
  • water enough to top bread cubes

Instructions

    For the tomatoes:
  1. Wash the fresh tomatoes and score the bottom with a sharp knife to create an X pattern.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until they start to soften and the peel start to come off.
  3. Drain and dive into a large bowl filled with cold water.
  4. Peel them and pass them through a food mill or blend in a food processor. Set aside.
  5. For the Pappa al Pomodoro:
  6. Take bread cubes and place in a deep bowl, cover with room temp water and let sit.
  7. In a medium crock pot pour in oil and heat up a bit.
  8. Toss in garlic and onion and season with some salt and pepper and chili flakes. Sautee till onions soften stirring frequently. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  9. Pour in the tomato puree (passata).
  10. Break in fresh basil leaves. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Let this simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  12. Take bread cubes out of water and squeeze in handfuls until water has dissipated.
  13. Place squeezed bread into the tomato sauce and stir vigorously with a whisk until well blended.
  14. Continue this process until all the bread is in, about 5 minutes.
  15. Cook for an additional 5 minutes continually whisking until the mixture looks silky and velvety.
  16. Take off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  17. Serve in a dish with a nice drizzle of e.v.o. oil and a sprinkle of fresh torn basil.

Notes

If you use canned tomatoes your prep time will come down considerably!

pappa al pomodoro, tuscan tomato and bread soup

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

P.S. A few Sundays ago, we had the opportunity to host a cooking class at Viva Italia Viva Edmonton festival and we made Pappa al Pomodoro for the lovely people that gathered there to see us and learn more about simple Italian food.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Ayngelina (@Ayngelina) September 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    This soup looks perfect for some crusty bread sitting on my counter.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      That’s the way to do it! I Love when people have ingredients sitting around and we inspire those ingredients to go to good use. I think you are going to love this. It has warm and fuzzy written all over it, plus it tastes fantastic. The next day we did a gratin with it using some Italian bread crumbs and blue cheese.
      happy cooking!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply killingthyme September 22, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I’ve been wanting to make pomodoro sauce for pasta, but now I have to add pomodoro soup to the list 🙂 This looks so tasty and hearty, and for for buttery baguette dippin’!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Dana.
      The wonderful thing about this soup is the bread is whipped with the tomato making it so silky and velvety plus so wonderful in flavor. That buttered baguette sounds good, as a kid that is one thing that I was always guarenteed to eat bread and butter. I love when fresh bread comes out of the oven and you cut a piece and slather it with butter watching that butter just melt into the bread, yum so scrumptious.
      Thanks a bunch for stopping bye.
      Have a most wonderful weekend!
      Loreto out.

  • Reply Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper September 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

    I am totally digging this soup! Looks perfect for cooler weather. So rich and satisfying! Yum!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Gabrielle, This soup is just that, a bowl of warm comfort food perfect to ward off the cooler temps. This soup has an unmistakable luxurious texture that just screams food love.
      Thanks for commenting Nicoletta and I so appreciate it.
      Have a warmer fantastic weekend.
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Nicole September 22, 2017 at 9:39 am

    The way you describe this dish is so poetic, I feel like I can smell the aroma and taste each spoonful. Suddenly my stomach is growling 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you Nicole, I love writing about something I am so passionate about and this recipe is just that pure poassion. I am glad you had the sensory download on this one. It is definately a recipe of aroma, texture and taste.
      Have a great weekend!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Milena Perrine September 23, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I loved reading this post! Guendalina seems like a very likable and reliable friend. The experience at your cooking class is now on my bucket list, thank you for sharing the details. For the time being, will make the Pappa al Pomodoro per your recipe – looks great!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 25, 2017 at 3:24 am

      Hi Milena, you will just love doing this cooking class. It is always wonderful to emmerse yourself into a culture, and I find there is no better way than through food which always comes with wonderful memories and stories. Thanks a bunch for stopping bye and commenting.
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Reply Natalie Browne September 23, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Just the aroma that would fill the house while making this soup would be worth the effort. This soup looks so rich and satisfying, perfect for the autumn days ahead

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 25, 2017 at 3:21 am

      Yes Natalie you described it so well. This is perfect for the fall that is upon us. This is Italian soul food full of loving thoughts and wonderful flavors, and so right about the aroma. I can’t wait to make this again. Thank you so much for commenting. I really enjoy reading them and responding.
      Happy Monday!
      Loreto

  • Reply Justine @ JustineCelina.com September 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I’m still fantasizing about all those delicious heirloom tomatoes from your recent trip! And now this!! It looks so delicious. I love the way you’ve written this post too, “This dish is a wonderful way to warm up our hearts and hands…” is my favourite thing I’ve read this week. 🙂 Have a great weekend guys!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto September 25, 2017 at 3:17 am

      Hi Justine, thank you so much. It is funny how food sparks so many wonderful memories and feelings. Growing up in an Italian family where food is of utmost importance and no shortage of passion. This Pappa al Pomodoro is something that is dear to my heart and you are right in saying that it warms our hearts and hands. I love the aroma that just eminates from this mix, and there is nothing like tomatoe sauce stewing on the stove. If you ever get a chance try a sugo sandwich with some good rustic Italian bread, it is the bomb!
      Have a wonderful start to the week!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

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