Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Classic Italian tomato bread soup, with crusty rustic bread, tomatoes, garlic, onions, stock and olive oil.

Main Course
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (or about 4 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes, that are blanched, peeled, and chopped*)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 more Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of cubed rustic bread, 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 to 3 thick slices of Italian loaf), day old is best
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, less or more to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish
  • Sauté onions, garlic: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a 5 to 6-quart thick-bottomed pot. Add the diced onions and cook slowly until softened and beginning to color, about 10-12 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook a minute more.
  • Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, oregano, then simmer: Add tomatoes to the pot with the onions, crushing them by hand as you put them in the pot. Discard any hard stem ends or stray tomato skins. Add chicken stock, bay leaves, and dried oregano. Heat to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. As you are cooking the tomato soup base, prepare the bread croutons in the next step.
  • Toast croutons on stovetop: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed bread to the pan. Toss to coat with the oil and spread the cubes out in a single layer. Let sit in pan without moving until one side is golden browned, then use tongs to turn over to another side. Once at least two sides have browned, remove from heat.
  • Add croutons to soup: Once the tomatoes have cooked for 20 minutes, add the lightly browned croutons to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Purée: Remove the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender or upright blender to roughly purée the soup (about half of the soup, leave some chunky bits). Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil or parsley.

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