Pappa Al Pomodoro, aka Tomato Bread Soup, is a simple Tuscan soup that is total comfort food and perfect for enjoying year round!
Today I’m sharing a traditional Tuscan dish in celebration of my upcoming workshop, which I’m excited to share with you today. Later this year, in October, I’ll be cohosting a food photography and styling workshop in Italy with Eva Kosmas Flores from Adventures in Cooking!
It’s not just a technical workshop. We’ve teamed up with Nostrale Tour for a 7 night/8 day experience that will begin with learning and end with an incredible, scenic food tour of Tuscany. During the first few days, we’ll be covering equipment, shooting in natural light, prop styling, and post-processing. There will be a lot of hands on practice.
After the the workshop is finished, we’ll move on to the culinary tour. We’ll be traveling to medieval towns and sampling local wines, olive oils and other Tuscan specialties. Locations will include Sienna, San Gimignano, Chianti and Florence. The tour will provide many opportunities to put all of those newly learned photography skills to the test!
Included in the trip is all lodging, meals, and transportation during the workshop and tour.
Pappa Al Pomodoro, also known as tomato bread soup, is a traditional Tuscan dish, though I can’t promise this version is completely authentic since Italian cuisine is not my specialty. I’ve adapted a recipe from Ina Garten, and I trust her. It’s a flavorful, hearty year-round soup, especially when tomatoes aren’t in season.
Pappa Al Pomodoro (Tomato Bread Soup)
For the soup:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion (approximately 1 large onion)
- 1 cup peeled diced carrots (approximately 2 medium carrots)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 - 3 1/2 cups ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock, low sodium or (preferably) homemade
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the topping:
- 3-4 cups ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup pancetta, sliced or cubed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for an additional 5 minutes until soft.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse the tomatoes and all juices from the can until slightly broken down but still textured.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, wine, basil, salt and pepper to the soup, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered or partially covered, for 45-60 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the ciabatta and pancetta on the baking sheet and top with the olive oil. Toss to combine and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top and bake for 15-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the ingredients are crispy. Set aside.
- Use a potato masher to break down the bread in the soup. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Serve the soup topped with the bread and pancetta mixture, as well as thinly sliced fresh basil.
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