Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tomato Bread Soup: Pappa al Pomodoro

This is the 3rd and final post in my Apple Series.  In the first post, we learned how to make an Apple Starter using hazy apples. The 2nd post featured Peasant Bread made with the apple starter. This post features Pappa al Pomodoro, an Italian Tomato Soup made with stale Peasant bread and Italian tomatoes fresh from the garden.


Tomato Bread Soup is a delicious soup, but it’s also a very practical way of recycling old bread.  I bake a lot of bread, and I enjoy sharing it with other people and sometimes the birds. I also like to make French Toast with sliced bread that has been frozen. However, I’ve been looking for some other productive and useful ways to use old bread. I was delighted when I learned about this soup.  It tastes delicious and it’s so easy to make!


Tomato Bread Soup: Pappa al Pomodoro Recipe

Makes: 4 servings

Recipe courtesy Mario Batali Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/tomato-bread-soup-pappa-al-pomodoro-recipe/index.html


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 pound day-old Italian peasant bread, roughly sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh torn basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Featured ingredients:

Peasant Bread cut into cubes.  For authentic Tomato Bread Soup, you just tear the bread, but I had already sliced the bread into cubes so that’s what I used.



Some recipes suggest using Pomi tomatoes.  I grew Roma, Viva Italia and San Marzano tomatoes in my garden this year so that’s what I used. 




  1. In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, until onion is translucent.



  2. Add chopped tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. I didn’t seed or chop the tomatoes, I just peeled them and used the back of a wooden spoon to break them apart.



  3. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.



  4. Using a wooden spoon, add the stale bread chunks and water.



  5. Continue simmering until all the bread has absorbed as much liquid as possible, yielding a baby food-like consistency. Stir in the basil.



  6. Season, to taste, with pepper. Let the soup continue simmering for 10 more minutes.



  7. Serve immediately in warmed soup bowls. Garnish, to taste, with Parmigiano-Reggiano. I actually forgot to add the cheese, but it didn’t need it. It tasted great!



    I was really excited about this soup, but when I saw the final consistency, I wasn’t so sure.  It looked like mush.  However, you know what they say about not judging a book by its cover… the same goes for this soup.  Don’t judge it by it’s look/consistency because the flavor is wonderful.  It was very satisfying to make something so delicious from recycled bread as well as tomatoes grown in my garden.  I hope you enjoy it as well.


    Happy Baking and Eating!


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