Zuppa for the soul. {Pappa al Pomodoro}

Garlic butter Croutons

I stayed home today, and had a desperately needed “quieting my mind” kind of day. Often on these kind of days I find myself in the kitchen, as my favorite time to cook is when the house is quiet and I can putter without rushing.

After a recent trip to Florence, I’ve had Pappa al Pomodoro on the brain. It is a simple and delicious soup made of leftover bread and tomatoes. And so today, after making some killer garlic croutons out of a leftover baguette I decided they needed a purpose so that I wouldn’t inhale them all- (which is totally what I wanted to do when I took them out of the oven, covered in the scent of garlic & butter.)

These gorgeous bits needed a soup.

In Tuscany, the dishes of “cucina povera” are the backbone of Tuscan cuisine. Once made out of necessity when food was scarce, and not one bite of food was left to waste- these traditional dishes still live on, and are a favorite when visiting Tuscany especially.

One of my favorite cucina povera dishes is Pappa al Pomodoro. A soup full of the flavors of summer but with a hearty stick to your ribs type feeling, it is wonderful in summer with fresh tomatoes, or in winter with good tinned whole tomatoes.

It would be the perfect accompaniment to the croutons. A soup worthy of their company.

This soup has bread in it, so it traditionally does not have croutons- I just thought it would be fun to add some crunch as a garnish to this traditionally thick and porridge like soup. It is a wonderful warm-you-to- the-bones kind of meal.


Pappa al Pomodoro
Recipe Type: Soups
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Heather
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 hearty servings
Pappa al Pomodoro {adapted from The Tuscan Sun Cookbook}
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 small baguette or loaf of day old ciabatta, cubed
  • 3-4 C. Vegetable broth
  • 1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Basil leaves to garnish
  1. In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until slightly brown and fragrant.
  3. Add the cubed bread, stir to coat with the butter and vegetables.
  4. Add half of the broth, stirring and breaking apart the bread.
  5. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  6. Break up the whole tomatoes with a spoon, crushing them into the soup.
  7. Add the remainder of the broth, stir and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Take off the heat- Use a immersion blender to slightly purée the soup- it will be thick and lucious.
  9. Cook on low for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  10. Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with fresh basil leaves.
*The traditional recipes I looked at do not have pesto- but it is delicious if you want to stir a little in. I also like mine a bit thinner than the traditional porridge consistency, so I add more broth.

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