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Pappa al pomodoro

Euf, this soup is satisfying. It’s thrifty, it’s flavourful, and unlike a lot of my favourite soups, it’s actually filling. The bread mushes into a pap and soaks up the flavours of tomato, garlic and basil stalks, whilst also giving the soup a luxuriously giving texture.


This would obviously be lovely with fresh cherry tomatoes, perhaps roasted before being tossed in with the bread, but I didn’t have any to hand. Draining the tinned tomatoes and cooking the tomatoes in the shallots for a while brings out a depth of flavour – then you add the reserved liquid with the water later.


Many recipes call for the bread to be chucked in stale. I wanted a deep garlicky undertone to mine, so toasted the bread and rubbed the toast with garlic before chopping the garlic and adding it in with the bread.

Serves 2

  • 1 slice bread, cut into strips

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tin peeled tomatoes (I used Mutti)

  • 1 sliced shallot

  • A handful of basil

  • 300ml water

  • 1tbsp oil to serve

  • Parmesan to serve

  1. Place the bread on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius.

  2. Rub the toasted bread with the garlic then break it into rough cubes.

  3. Chop the garlic finely.

  4. Chop half the basil. The stalks should be finely chopped but the leaves can be more rough.

  5. Drain the tin of tomatoes through a sieve into a jug.

  6. Heat a little olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook the shallots until softened.

  7. Add the garlic and the chopped basil.

  8. Add the drained tomatoes and mix with a wooden spoon to break them up.

  9. Add the cubes of toasted bread.

  10. Pour over water to cover and the reserved liquid from the tomatoes.

  11. Bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for 45 minutes with a lid on.

  12. Ladle into bowls. Serves with parmesan and the remaining basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and kick up your feet.

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