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Pappa di Pomodoro - Italian Bread and Tomato Soup


I've been asked by Mel to guest post over at Bouchon for Two while she is traveling around Europe, so hop on over there for the entire post and recipe for this delicious and simple traditional Tuscan soup.   

Pappa di Pomodoro was originally a way to use up stale bread – in the Tuscan kitchen, nothing goes to waste.  When I was growing up, it was also a way to use slightly overripe tomatoes – the ones you’re thinking maybe wouldn’t be so great to slice into a sandwich.  So this Is a very practical dish.  “Pappa” means mush, but don’t let that fool you – it’s delicious.  Now you can find this “peasant” dish in upscale restaurants in Florence.  People love this kind of comfort food. 

If you don’t have stale bread, you can take bread, cube it, place it on a baking sheet and just bake it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until it is dried out.  I used a hearty whole wheat bread, which makes this soup a perfectly healthy dish – garlic, olive oil, tomato, whole grain – with a green salad, it is a great lunch or dinner!  I also used half beef broth and half chicken broth for the stock, a little trick I learned from Giuliano Hazan, when you don’t want the heaviness of a full beef broth.

Pappa di Pomodoro



for a printer friendly version of the recipe, click here

Serves 4
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups meat broth (I use half beef, half chicken)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cubed stale bread
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
Heat the olive oil in a deep pot and gently sauté the garlic for just a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes and basil and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add the meat stock, season with some salt and pepper, add the bread and cook, stirring, until the soup comes to a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
Uncover the pot, simmer for another 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls.  You can drizzle a little fresh olive oil over the soup, grind a little more pepper on top and grate some parmesan cheese over the top. 



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Reader Comments (10)

Mmmm, I so want to make this in the very near future. Love your shot with the pot, so homey and comforting!

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermarie

Sounds like a great soup. So comfy food.

November 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHélène

I am so happy to finally see a recipe for this soup. I ate this many times while visiting Florence in 2004 and have dreamed of making it at home. It is a truly delicious soup perfect for Fall and Winter. Thanks!

November 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

hi I come from Tuscany and would love to give you a different version one that's almost the same but has a few slight differences
The secret is simplicity, to the bone!

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOriana

I just made this for dinner tonight and it was really really good and oh so easy! Thanks for sharing.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercuriousgravy

I've been wanting to try this forever and I finally did. It was delicious! Sometimes it's the simplest ingredients that taste so good. Just in time for tomato and basil season too.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

hallo elainee
i adoree ur recipies
please can u give me some italien recipies for christmas?>
thanks a lot

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

Just found your website by accident yesterday. Can't remember how I got here but boy am I happy. I could hardly pull myself away from your recipes last night and, of course, have to read everyone's comments. Saw this soup recipe and had to make it tonight. Didn't have any luscious red, over ripe tomatoes so drained a can of whole tomatoes and cut up. Oh my goodness. This is food of the Gods and so very simple. Can imagine how good it must be with fresh tomatoes. Still have a nice amount of soup left even though I ate two bowls for dinner. Can't wait to eat some more tomorrow. I didn't make any changes to the recipe other than using canned tomatoes. Even had a little basil still growing in my garden that hadn't been frost bitten so got to finish that. One of the most delicious soups I've ever eaten. Thank you for the delicious recipes. Pam

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

This is a go to for myself and my husband. Whenever we can't decide what to have for dinner, it's always Pappa Di Pomodoro. My husband could eat it every night if he had his choice. The fresh tomatoes give it the light, fresh flavour that its famous for. And its a perfect, easy way to use up that stale bread before you have to throw it away. THANK YOU!

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

It's a great recipe, although I use this one where it takes less cooking time and the Parmesan is an option if you want to save calories.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArmando

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