Nothing ever gets wasted in a Tuscan farm, everything is recycled, everything becomes again, every ingredient and leftover food item always gets a second chance in a peasant kitchen like ours. At the peak of summer, when tomatoes are ripe and bushes of basil fill every pot on our sunny porch, we collect the stale bread that has been saved during the week, to create this simple but absolutely delicious recipe, in the same fashion it has been done by generation of Tuscan farmers.
Soup is meant to be served warm or even at room temperature, so not to loose the flavor nuances of the freshly broken basil and the seasonal tomatoes.
Drizzled with the best cold pressed extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on, but never finished with grated Parmigiano, the Pappa is supposed to be on the thick side, wet but not soupy… you are supposed to eat it with a fork!
Serves: 4 / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (pelati), broken up
- 4 handfuls of fresh whole basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 12 ounces stale Pane Toscano or store-bought country bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant but not browned.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- Add the vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil.
- Add the bread and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for an 1 hour, until the bread has absorbed as much of the sauce as possible.Take the soup off the heat, and let it sit for about 1 hour, until the bread has absorbed as much sauce as possible.
- Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to break down the biggest chunks of bread into smaller pieces. Return the pot to a low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until warm, but not so hot.
- Serve garnished with basil and a drizzle of olive oil.