Pappa al Pomodoro
This soup can be found all over Tuscany and is delicious and quite easy to make. It makes good use of your day-old Italian bread and is ready in about an hour. Why not give it a try?
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Two 14-ounce cans finely chopped or crushed tomatoes, such as Cento
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus up to 2 cups more
4 cups stale bread cubes cut into 1-inch cubes. I use an Italian type loaf of bread.
4+ sprigs basil
A few pieces of Parmesan rind
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
In a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat add the olive oil and pancetta.
Cook until the pancetta is brown and crispy, which will be about 4 minutes. Remove cooked pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. DO NOT DRAIN THE PAN!
Meaning, in the same pan, add the red onion, carrot, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the salt, canned tomatoes, chicken (or vegetable) broth, and bread cubes; stir to combine. Add the Parmesan rind and a few sprigs of basil.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle bubble. Continue to cook and after about 5 minutes, add in the pancetta.
Cook for 25 minutes, stirring often to break apart the bread and prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the soup gets too thick, add extra broth as needed. There are times I have added up to 2.5 cups of additional broth as I didn’t measure out the bread. It is supposed to be a thick and hearty soup so don’t expect it to be a thin consistency.
Right before serving, add in the grated Parmesan cheese.
When ready to serve:
- Grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top
- A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- Chopped fresh basil for garnish
Note: I keep a ziplock bag of all my Parmesan rinds to use when making many recipes such as this and even pasta sauce! Just remember when using Parmigiano rind, make sure you don’t add too much extra salt as the cheese has plenty in it already!
You can freeze any leftovers for another day!
We’d love to hear comments on how your family enjoyed this recipe!