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Pappa Al Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato Soup)

Pappa al Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato Soup) - A simple, Tuscan soup that is pure and delicious comfort food with fresh and fantastic tomato flavor!

A decade ago, when Jack and I were engaged to be married, we had plans to go to Tuscany on our honeymoon. Knowing our upcoming travel plans – and our love of cooking – some friends of mine from work gave us several wonderful Tuscan cookbooks as a wedding gift!

One of the very first recipes we made from those cookbooks was a wonderful Pappa al Pomodoro – or bread and tomato soup! In Italian, ‘pappa al pomodoro’ means ‘mush of tomato’ – and that is actually a perfect way to describe this amazingly delicious soup!

Pappa al Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato Soup) - A simple, Tuscan soup that is pure and delicious comfort food with fresh and fantastic tomato flavor!

Pappa al pomodoro is a simple, rustic soup made from day old bread, fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and extra virgin olive oil, and a very pleasant, simple stock called Brodo. Brodo is a stock made from veal or beef bones, a boiling fowl or chicken, and some simple vegetables. The brodo is not concentrated like a chicken or beef stock, so it really allows the flavors of the fresh tomatoes in this soup to shine through! (We show you how to make brodo right here!)

Pappa al Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato Soup) - A simple, Tuscan soup that is pure and delicious comfort food with fresh and fantastic tomato flavor!

Pappa al pomodoro is a perfect option for using fresh, garden-grown tomatoes! But if you don’t have access to fresh – good-quality, canned whole tomatoes such as San Marzano may be used instead. Also, many if not most of the other pappa al pomodoro recipes you’ll find online use chicken stock in this soup – but to be authentic and for the very best flavor, you really want to make and use brodo!

Adapted from Tuscan Cookbook: Recipes and Reminiscences from the Italian Cooking School

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Pappa Al Pomodoro

Pappa Al Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato Soup) - A Family Feast

Note: Prep time listed in this recipe does not include the time required to make the brodo. Chicken stock may be substituted for the brodo if necessary.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over finished bowls
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or an equal amount of a good-quality canned whole tomato such as Cento San Marzano – about 48 ounces/6 cups or more if using canned)
  • ½ cup roughly torn or chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups Brodo (see recipe here)
  • 1 pound of really dense bread such as a French country loaf or a rustic Italian loaf, crusts removed and cut into one inch cubes
  • Grated Parmesano Reggiano to serve over each bowl

Instructions

  1. In a medium to large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, slowly bring up the oil to a medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté for just one minute and add the tomatoes, basil and pepper. Cook for five minutes over a medium heat then add the salt.
  2. Add the brodo, bring up to hot and cook just a few minutes longer. Add the bread, stir and cover. Cook ten minutes covered over very low heat.
  3. Remove the soup from the heat and serve immediately with olive oil drizzled over each bowl along with freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Comments

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  1. This looks and sounds amazing, Martha! I’ve never tried anything like it, but I think I should remedy that real soon 🙂

  2. This looks amazing. I am a huge fan of soup, tomato especially. It is still a bit hot in Vegas for soup so I will add this to my list of soups to make as soon as its under 100 deg. ha ha

  3. My husband and I have wonderful memories of traveling through Tuscany together. It was some of the best food I’ve ever had. I especially love what they can do with bread. This recipe reminds me of a soup I had there. Can’t wait to try it and see the bread recipe tomorrow.

  4. Tuscany is definitely on my bucket list 🙂 This soup looks amazing. Looking forward to the brodo recipe!

  5. ooh this soup looks delicious! love how hearty it is.. perfect for the winter weather here in australia right now.

  6. This is absolutely stunning I can’t stop staring at it.

  7. Mike Benayoun :

    Great job Martha. I hope you and your husband enjoyed Tuscany!

    I didn’t know about brodo. Thanks for sharing the recipe too! I will make sure to use brodo next time I make pappa al pomodoro. For me, what is really important is to use the best tomatoes. I used San Marzano canned tomatoes and it made all the difference!

  8. Melanie McNamara :

    My husband and I were so lucky to go to Italy in the summer of 2013. I had been to Florence before so it was so nice to show him the places that I loved. We had Pappa al Pomodoro at a cut restaurant near our hotel…very similar to this recipe I think. We didn’t realize how filling it was or we would have skipped the rest of the meal we ordered. It is delicious and fills you with a feeling of home. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • What a wonderful memory Melanie – thank you for sharing! If you make this recipe especially with the brodo (which does take some time to make…) it is definitely an authentically Tuscan dish! Enjoy!