This evening, I made the “pappa al pomodoro”, a simple, wonderful Italian soup that my mother used to make.  It’s made with stale bread, tomatoes, basil and vegetable broth. It was great! 

For some reason, in the U.S., I have never seen this delicious meal in any Italian restaurant. Actually, unless I go to Florence, I cannot even find it in Italy because it’s a Tuscan soup.

The soup is very easy to make, and I substitute Pomì tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes that are traditionally used. Kids love this hearty soup, and adults like it even more! It takes 30 minutes to make, and the amounts suggested in this recipe easily feed 6. If you double up the ingredients, in 30 minutes, you feed 12 or more.


  • 300 grams Italian “rustic type” bread (ciabatta, for example) — old bread is fine — cut into thin slices
  • 500 gram peeled Italian tomatoes, a box of Pomì chopped tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes put in a food processor and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 liter broth, either vegetable (traditional recipe) or chicken (my preference)
  • 1/3 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • A bunch of basil, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Fry garlic in oil on low heat until it takes on a golden color. Remove the garlic from the olive oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes and basil and cook on medium/high for 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, bring the broth to boil in a separate pen. When you’ve cooked the tomatoes and basil for 15 minutes, add the broth bring fire to high/max.  Add the bread and let it cook 10 more minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Taste and adjust with salt as needed.
  4. Turn off the heat, mix and let it sit for at least 1 hour. Mix again and serve, or if you are eating it many hours later, heat it up on low/medium flame.
  5. Serve the pappa at a warm (not hot) temperature. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to each bowl of soup as you serve it. Do not add parmesan cheese.

Italiano: Pappa al Pomodoro


  • 300 grammi di pane di casa tagliato a fettine sottili
  • 500 grammi pomodori pelati, meglio conserva fatta in casa
  • 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati
  • 1 litro di brodo- la ricetta originale suggerisce brodo vegetale, io preferisco brodo di pollo, vedete che preferite voi
  • 80 ml di olio buono
  • Un mazzetto di basilico tritato (meglio un pò di più che di meno!)
  • Sale


  1. Friggete aglio in olio toglierlo come prende colore aggiunge i pomodori pelati e basilico e cuocer a fuoco medio alto 15 minuti.
  2. Intanto avete portato il brodo a bollore, aggiungetelo alla salsa di pomodoro, alzate il fuoco al massimo e mettete il pane tagliato a fettine.
  3. Fate cuocere 10 minuti rimestando spesso e spegnete il fuoco. Aggiustate di sale. Fate riposare un’ora.
  4. La pappa si serve tiepida –non bollente!- con un filo d’olio e niente formaggio per carità. Se e` fredda potete riscaldarla, coperta a fuoco medio basso.

Suggested Wine Pairing

A simple Rosso di Montalcino or a Chianti pairs very well with this hearty soup.