Pappa al Pomodoro – a rustic Tuscan tomato soup made with bread, wholesome, hearty and filling.
Traditionally made with the last of summer’s San Marzano tomatoes, lots of day old bread, garlic and herbs. No beans allowed here, make a Minestrone instead if that’s what you are after.
I did a little bruschetta spin on this and chose to grill some crusty bread instead. I’m pretty sure this is the only way to make Tuscan tomato soup from this day on.
You start with a little bit of olive oil and create a flavor base of sautéed onions, garlic, spicy chile peppers and a little touch of fresh rosemary. Go easy with the rosemary as it can be very strong, so make sure to taste as you go.
Let’s talk tomatoes kids!
Tomatoes have a huge roll in Tuscan soups of course, so I’m insisting on San Marzano tomatoes that you can quickly blanch and peel and add to your soup. But, you probably don’t have any growing in the backyard right ? In which case we need to use the canned variety.
No worries! This makes our life super easy as those are already blanched and peeled, so just use about 10 of those and your soup will be amazing.
Use the tomatoes only, not the sauce they come canned in. A Tuscan tomato soup has a thinner consistency that will be thickened up with the addition of the stale bread or bruschetta.
I like to make my own vegetable stock for this. Pretty much I do a nice fridge clean up, and simmer together some carrots, onion, garlic, a bunch of thyme, peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves. Insanely delicious, but you are free to use a store bought stock.
While my soup is simmering away and making the shack smell like a small Tuscan town on a chilly day, I start on the bruschetta. You know how we love bruschetta around here right ?
So I grill the bread and rub it with garlic on both sides before I brush it with olive oil and hit it with the sea salt. Then I wait until my soup is ready.
At this point you use the best kitchen utensils of all times (your hands), and tear the bruschetta into small chunks and add them to the soup. Cover with a tight lid and let it sit for a good 10 minutes covered so the bread will soak up the broth, thicken up and the flavors will mingle together.
Love this Tuscan Tomato Soup ? Try these:
- Roasted Tomato Soup
- San Marzano Tomato Soup
- Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
- Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
- Italian Vegetable Soup with Farro
Tuscan Tomato Soup Recipe (Pappa al Pomodoro)
- 1 small onion -diced
- 5 cloves garlic -minced
- 1 clove garlic -whole
- 8-10 San Marzano tomatoes (canned variety is fine)
- 1.5 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp Rosemary -chopped
- 1 loaf crusty bread
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
- 1 pinch Sea salt ( or to taste)
- 1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/3 c Italian parsley -roughly chopped
- In a medium size heavy bottom pot add a good lug of love oil.
- Add the onions and red pepper flakes and sauté together for about 5 minutes until translucent. At this point stir in the rosemary and garlic and give it a good stir.
- Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring your tomato soup to a gentle simmer. Cook on low flame for 25 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings to taste with sea salt and set aside.
- Meanwhile cut the bread in 1 inch slices and grill it on both sides on a cast iron grill pan until nice charred grill marks form.
- Use a large garlic clove and rub both sides of the bread. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Using your hands tear the bruschetta into rustic pieces and add them to the Tuscan tomato soup. Cover with a lid and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with the fresh parsley and extra red pepper flakes.
- If you don't have any bread I suggest adding some gnocchi instead.
- Add some clams in the last few minutes of cooking to turn it into a Zupps di Pesce or Cioppino.