Pappa al Pomodoro or Tuscan bread and tomato soup, is one of the most famous dishes of Tuscan cuisine. Pappa al Pomodoro is a delicious, easy and quick-to-make preparation made with stale bread and tomatoes.
Enjoy it in winter as a hot soup or in summer as a cold first course.
Tomato passata and stale bread, both cooked with extra virgin olive oil, basil leaves and garlic, for a healthy and tasty soup, perfect even for vegetarian and vegan.
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Pappa al Pomodoro | Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cool Time: 45 Min
- 400 g ( 0,90 lb ) of stale bread
- 500 g ( 1,1 lb ) of tomato passata or crushed canned peeled tomatoes
- 1 liter of vegetable broth
- 2 cloves of garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
- 6/8 fresh basil leaves
- a pinch of fine salt
- a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
No special tools are required to make Pappa al Pomodoro recipe, but a pot with a thick bottom is better for slow and uniform cooking.
Traditionally in Tuscany they use a terracotta casserole. This type of pot is not only ideal for soups and sauces but is also very beautiful and characteristic.
Pappa al Pomodoro is also often served in terracotta dishes that give the table a rustic look and an warm old-time atmosphere!
How To Make Pappa al Pomodoro Recipe
Step 1) – Start preparing the bread. The bread must be stale and dry at least 3-4 days before but, if it’s still a little soft, toast it for a few minutes in the oven. Cut the bread into pieces, rub them with a clove of garlic then cut into smaller chunks. Arrange the bread on the bottom of a saucepan. The perfect one would be earthenware or a non-stick pan with a thick bottom.
Step 2) – In a bowl, pour the tomato passata or crush the peeled tomatoes. Add 1 cloves of garlic, peeled and lcut in half. Let it flavour the tomatoes for a few minutes. Pour a little bit of extra virgin olive on the bread to flavour it.
Step 3) – Cover the pieces of bread with 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato passata. Continue in the same order, alternating a layer of bread + oil and one of tomato. Leave the garlic in the soup.
Step 4) – Finally, at the last layer, add the basil leaves cut into small pieces with your hands, the sugar and a pinch of fine salt. Cover with two ladles of vegetable broth.
Step 5) – Cook with the lid on for about 45 minutes over low heat. Stir often and add more broth when you see that’s completely absorbed. When the bread is blended with the tomato sauce and the soup has reached the right consistency, turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Pappa al Pomodoro must have a dense and fairly dry consistency. So if it’s too liquid at the end of cooking, let it boil a little longer without the lid so to let evaporate the excess broth.
Taste it and season with salt if necessary then add a little of freshly ground black pepper. Serve Pappa al Pomodoro with a basil leaf on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Pappa al pomodoro can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge and placed in an airtight container.
Authentic Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro: Only 3 Ingredients of Excellent Quality
In Tuscany they make pappa al pomodoro with tomatoes called Pisanelli or Costoluti, but you can use San Marzano tomatoes that are perfect for this recipe. During the summer, when the tomatoes are red ripe and very tasty, it’s better to use fresh tomatoes. In the winter, you can opt for San Marzano canned peeled tomatoes or for an excellent tomato passata made with our recipe during the warm season.
Traditional pappa al pomodoro recipe wants unsalted Tuscan bread. We know that it’s hard to find outside of Tuscany, so a good rustic crusty pagnotta made with our recipe will do just fine. The most important thing is that the bread is stale and dry for at least three or four days.
Extra virgin olive oil
Maybe the most important ingredient of pappa al pomodoro recipe: Tuscan extra virgin olive oil of excellent quality. We know that Tuscan oil is not always easy to find. So we recommend that you use any good oil as long as it is extra virgin and of high quality.
At last, but not at least, garlic and basil to flavor the bread, tomatoes and oil.
Tips and Tricks for Making The Best Pappa al Pomodoro
Bread and Salt
Traditional recipe of Pappa al Pomodoro wants Tuscan bread. This typical local bread is free of salt and in Tuscany they call it “pane sciocco”. Obviously, you can use the bread that you have available or the one you prefer, but the advice, if you don’t use unsalted bread, is to be careful with salt: maybe it’s not necessary to add any.
Garlic is a key ingredient in this recipe. If you don’t want its flavor to be too intense, you can avoid rubbing the slices of bread too much, or do it after removing the greener central part of the garlic. Even the clove of garlic that is used to flavor the tomato, can be removed before or halfway through cooking or let it dissolve in the soup according to your tastes.
Pappa al pomodoro traditional recipe wants some herbs to flavour the soup. People often use fresh basil but you can flavor the recipe with the herbs you like. Thyme or rosemary are also good, depending on taste.
Pappa al Pomodoro: Curiosities
What does “Pappa” mean?
In Italian the word “pappa” indicates the food that is given to babies when they learn to eat and have to switch from milk to more solid baby foods. “Pappa” therefore indicates a very dense and soft consistency.
“Viva la Pappa col Pomodoro”
Pappa al Pomodoro became famous outside of Tuscany in 1912, because it was published in the famous pages of “Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca” by the Florentine writer Vamba (aka Luigi Bertelli). Although the recipe has much older origins.
In 1960 the recipe became much more famous when Rita Pavone (a famous singer in the 60s) sang the song titled “Viva la pappa col pomodoro”, written by Lina Wertmüller and set to music by Nino Rota. That was the theme song for a very successful television series inspired by the “Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca”. Pappa al Pomodoro thus became a symbol of Tuscan cuisine in Italy and in the world.