Buongiorno, my loves! I’m currently en route from Marseille to Florence by train.
I’m elated to present Elaine from The Italian Dish , to share her traditional Tuscan soup recipe. Elaine inherited her Sicilian mother’s cooking flair and is always eager to teach others. Her other blog, Daily Colander, is an exciting feed of culinary news. Grazie mille!
Guest Post written by Elaine
When Mel asked me to guest post because she was going to Europe, I had to say yes. How can you not help a fellow food blogger who has Italy on her itinerary? Plus she blogs from Vancouver, a city near and dear to my heart. My husband and I had the best time there a few years back and we were so impressed with that city and its international cuisine. She also has a great video about eating her way through Seattle, another city that we’re in love with.
Mel is traveling to France, Italy and Spain and wanted an authentic Italian recipe. Well, I thought that since she was going to Florence, one of our favorite cities, I should do an authentic Florentine recipe.
Florence is in Tuscany and there are many great traditional Tuscan recipes –chicken liver crostini, beans in tomato sauce, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Ribolitta, Cenci – but bread is the essential ingredient in Tuscan cooking. And a recipe with bread is what I wanted to make.
Pappa di Pomodoro is a very traditional Tuscan soup. It originally was a way to use up stale bread – in the Tuscan kitchen, nothing goes to waste. When I was growing up, it was also a way to use slightly overripe tomatoes – the ones you’re thinking maybe wouldn’t be so great to slice into a sandwich. So this Is a very practical dish. “Pappa” means mush, but don’t let that fool you – it’s delicious. Now you can find this “peasant” dish in upscale restaurants in Florence. People love this kind of comfort food.
If you don’t have stale bread, you can take bread, cube it, place it on a baking sheet and just bake it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until it is dried out. I used a hearty whole wheat bread, which makes this soup a perfectly healthy dish – garlic, olive oil, tomato, whole grain – with a green salad, it is a great lunch or dinner! I also used half beef broth and half chicken broth for the stock, a little trick I learned from Giuliano Hazan, when you don’t want the heaviness of a full beef broth.
I’ll be following Mel on Twitter, as she eats her way through Europe!
Pappa di Pomodoro (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 cups meat broth (I use half beef, half chicken)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups cubed stale bread
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Heat the olive oil in a deep pot and gently sauté the garlic for just a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the meat stock, season with some salt and pepper, add the bread and cook, stirring, until the soup comes to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
Uncover the pot, simmer for another 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls. You can drizzle a little fresh olive oil over the soup, grind a little more pepper on top and grate some Parmesan cheese over the top.