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
- 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