Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato & Bread Soup)
Adapted from 300 Sensational Soups
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2lb/950g tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped with juices, or, if you’re like me 1 large cans (28oz/954ml) fire-roasted diced tomatoes)
Day old Italian peasant bread (recipe called for 4 slices, I used a focaccia loaf I over cooked), torn into chunks
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I actually shaved some very thin slices)
1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and then sauté the onion until softened, about 5 minutes and then add the garlic slices. Continue to sauté just for a minute or two, until you get that wonderful aroma but don’t let the garlic burn. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tomatoes start to break down (about 5 minutes).
2. Add the bread, broth, salt & pepper and simmer. The book calls for breaking the bread with the back of a spoon, until the bread has absorbed as much liquid as possible and resembles mush (about 15 minutes). Stir in the basil just a couple of minutes before serving.
At serving time, ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.