You may be thinking, “Bread? In my soup? Really?” But I promise it’s good. Pappa al Pomodoro is a typical Tuscan soup that I fell in love with at Ristorante Di Cambi in Florence. This soup is the perfect late summer dinner to use up an abundance of fresh tomatoes, but good quality canned tomatoes are perfectly fine to use as well (you will just skip the roasting step, and increase the simmering on the stove time). Good Italian food is all about good quality fresh and simple ingredients. That’s it. I’m not sure Pappa al Pomodoro is traditionally made with roasted tomatoes, but roasting can only intensify and sweeten the tomato flavor, so I think it’s a great idea (which I got from a Jamie Oliver recipe).

As usual I did not do any measuring, and you don’t need to either. Just go by how it looks and tastes. It’s more fun that way anyway.

Fresh ripe tomatoes (I used about 6 large ones) or 2 28 oz cans peeled plum tomatoes crushed with your hands and juice
1-2 halved or quartered shallots
2 carrots, quartered
4 peeled garlic cloves
3 cups chicken stock
2 thick slices of 2 day old crusty French or Italian bread torn into pieces (if it’s fresh bread, just pop in the the over for a few minutes to dry out)
1 bunch fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
parmigiano reggiano for serving

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut ripe tomatoes in half and place on a rimmed sheet pan along with shallots, carrots, and garlic.Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 2-3 hours until very soft and slightly caramelized.

Transfer to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken stock (I used about 2 cups) and simmer 5 minutes. Toss in basil and bread. Blend with an immersion blender (recommended), traditional blender, or food processor. Blend as much or as little as you like. I’ve seen this with very large chunks of bread, and totally pureed. Add more chicken stock as needed until the desired consistency is reached. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil (a little good balsamic is yummy too!) garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese.