quick and easy

Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup) Recipe

recipe image

Why It Works

  • While this dish is historically designed to make expend of mature bread, this version works upright as correctly with new, which softens sooner and saves time.
  • Hand-crushing the tomatoes creates a pleasantly tubby texture.

I changed into flipping by several of my 19th-century cookbooks currently, and changed into reminded of how assorted they were relieve then. Without a doubt one of essentially the most stunning issues changed into the frequent inclusion of entire chapters on feeding the sick and infirm. Cookbooks from those times weren’t upright aspirational guides beefy of admire dinner suggestions, or dwelling windows into a chef’s genius; they were there to attend folks—in overall females—by their home responsibilities. Cures for dyspepsia, as a consequence of this truth, were mere pages a long way from the johnnycake recipes.

Before everything, that appeared off-putting. Or not it is just not exactly savory to search out out concerning the paps, mushes, and gruels that are most with out difficulty gummed. But then I caught myself: What’s so execrable about subtle, liquid food—I love soup, don’t I? After which I remembered that in reality one of my current tomato-essentially based dishes is a upright pap, both in substance and in name. Pappa al pomodoro, which translates as “tomato pap,” is a Tuscan dish that’s made by simmering bread with a tomato-essentially based sauce till the bread is fully subtle and custardy. Or not it’s savory, no topic your age or quantity of enamel.

For a identical but tomato-free bread soup recipe, compare out this Portuguese version, identified as açorda à Alentejana.

Most folk represent pappa al pomodoro as a summertime bread-and-tomato soup made with new tomatoes, but that’s always appeared a small bit outlandish to me. Within the summer season, once I in reality possess comely tomatoes, essentially the most uncomplicated bread-and-tomato dishes I’m thinking about making possess uncooked new tomatoes—panzanella, to illustrate, or gazpacho. A cooked tomato soup, on the opposite hand, is the roughly thing I race to keep for the chillier months, once I’m relying on canned tomatoes, since they’ve already been cooked anyway.

Meaning that upright now would possibly well per chance be the delivery of my pappa al pomodoro season.

Feeble, oven-dried, and new breads.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Historically, pappa al pomodoro is in reality one of those recipes, love panzanella and gazpacho, that transforms mature bread into one thing not upright suitable for eating, but gorgeous. But mature bread is just not essentially required. When making panzanella, to illustrate, I race to in overall dry new bread within the oven as an different. I’ve long stumbled on (and Kenji’s tests possess confirmed) that dried bread in reality makes a wiser dish than mature bread. If the adaptation between the 2 seems to be trivial, it can per chance attend to know that staling and drying are two assorted, though in overall concurrent, processes: Staling refers back to the recrystallization of the bread’s starch, whereas drying describes a lack of moisture by evaporation. Staling ends in bread that’s unpleasantly sophisticated and company, whereas drying (within the absence of staling) ends in a light, crisp texture, love that of a new crouton.

For pappa al pomodoro, I changed into outlandish to price what the variations were between mature, dried, and new bread, so I whipped up three batches, every utilizing one form. Lawful love with panzanella, dried bread labored higher than mature, softening remarkable sooner within the tomato liquid. But remarkable extra interesting changed into that new bread labored upright to boot to dried—which is just not upright of a dish love panzanella.

The motive has to create with the tip targets in every case. With panzanella, the premise is to make a salad whereby the bread is soaked with tomato juices and olive oil, whereas quiet putting ahead crisp bits right here and there for textural distinction. Drying the bread entirely allows it to settle on in remarkable extra of those liquids and quiet possess some crunch left over.

With pappa al pomodoro, though, the aim is to fully decrease the bread to mush, and not utilizing a crispness at all. The tomatoes by myself will not be juicy ample to get you there, so it’s a must must add some extra liquid to the pot to utterly soften the bread. I on the total expend a snappy and uncomplicated vegetable stock for my extra liquid, but having the bread already new upright implies that you just are even nearer to the attain line as soon as you delivery.

Within the tip, I tasted no noticeable incompatibility between the brand new-bread and dried-bread variations, but the brand new changed into remarkable sooner to variety than the dried-bread one.

The comfort is barely straightforward: Simmer a straightforward tomato sauce in a huge saucepan by sweating minced onion and garlic in olive oil, then including canned tomatoes. I love to crush them by hand to take care of some tomato chunks within the done soup, but whereas you expend to possess a smoother texture, you maybe can purée them in a blender first as an different.

Then I add the bread in torn chunks and spoon stock on high to utterly saturate it. I simmer the aggregate, spooning extra stock in as wished, till the bread has fully softened to a custardy texture and the soup has thickened to a in an identical design custardy consistency.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

For the final touches, that are extremely significant to the done soup’s success, generously drizzle some horny olive oil on high, grind new dim pepper all over the build, and scatter torn new basil leaves for their aroma.

Affect not wait till you are going to possess got received dentures to create this.

November 2015

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • Pinch red pepper flakes

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 (28ounce) can entire plum tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices

  • 2 sprigs new basil, plus torn leaves for serving

  • 1/3 pound (about 6 ounces) new or mature rustic bread, torn or minimize into 1-lumber chunks (spy notes)

  • 2 cups warm snappy and uncomplicated vegetable stock, plus extra as wished (spy notes)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground dim pepper

  1. In a huge saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat till shiny. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, till garlic upright begins to flip golden. Add onion and cook, stirring, upright till softened, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and their juices, along side basil sprigs, and raise to a simmer.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  2. Shuffle in bread. Ladle stock on high, stirring to mix. Simmer bread, including extra stock as wished, till bread is fully softened and custardy and soup has thickened to a porridge-love consistency, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard basil sprigs.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  3. Spoon into bowls, generously drizzle with olive oil, and grind dim pepper on high. Garnish with torn basil leaves and assist.


Pappa al pomodoro is historically made with mature bread, and you maybe can expend it for this soup whereas you can per chance even possess it, but our tests possess shown that this soup is upright as horny made with new bread. Plus, new bread softens remarkable extra rapidly, making the soup sooner to put together.

You maybe can expend store-bought low-sodium rooster stock or water in situation of the vegetable stock, if desired.

Learn More

  • Ribollita (Hearty Tuscan Bean, Bread, and Vegetable Stew)
  • Tuscan Ribollita With Summer season Vegetables
  • Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (Açorda à Alentejana)

Learn More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button