Pappa al pomodoro

This soup is one that has many fond memories as I first tasted it when I worked at the River Cafe in London. I was in heaven; the simplicity of flavours and the fact that it used up old bread!

Photo by Simon Lambert.
Photo by Simon Lambert.
Pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup)

Serves 4

3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
90ml olive oil
2kg ripe tomatoes, skinned, and seeds removed
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 loaf, stale bread (ciabatta or sourdough. remove most of the crusts and tear into large pieces)
1 generous bunch basil, torn
extra virgin olive oil

Place the olive oil and garlic into a large heavy-based pot and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the tomatoes to reduce and become more concentrated.

Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add 300 ml of water and bring to the boil.

Add the bread and push into the tomato liquid so the bread absorbs the liquid.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

Add the basil and oil and leave for 15 minutes before serving.

This soup is traditionally served at room temperature, but it works hot as well.

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