Living in Savory

Pappa al Pomodoro

Hello and happy Sunday! Is it spring yet where you are or still winter? I recently travelled to Washington DC and it was pretty chilly up there for my Alabama blood. That being said, when I got back to Alabama it was in the 40’s {which is pretty cold for AL…} and now its a rainy sunday, so I got it into my head to make this super comforting Tomato Soup — Pappa al Pomodoro.

 is a thick Tuscan bread soup typically prepared with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic,  basil, and various other fresh ingredients. It is typically made with stale bread, so if you have any left over bread then you can use that, but I used Ciabatta bread in this recipe because it has such a crusty crust. Say that 5 times fast…(source)

Anyway! So after scouring the web for ideas on how to put this soup together, here’s the ingredient list I came up with:

For the Soup:

For the topping:

Begin by heating the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender.

Next, add cube and the ciabatta; cook for 5 more minutes.

During this time, place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, Parmesan Cheese rind, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

**Don’t worry if you don’t have a cheese rind to use, this is just an additional step that will help add depth of flavor to the soup — totally not necessary to complete the dish!**

Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.

For the topping, place the ciabatta cubes, chopped pancetta, and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine. Set off to the side to cool.

Reheat the soup, if necessary,  and beat with a wire whisk, or stir vigorously until the bread is broken up. Stir in the Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve hot, sprinkled with the bread topping and drizzled with additional olive oil.

Enjoy your Sunday and this little slice of Italian comfort food heaven!

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