Pappa Al Pomodoro is a soup for everyone made with old bread and bursting with flavor. This soup is a great way to reduce waste and increase consciousness.
Before Covid-19 changed our world, many Americans were avidly anti-bread, following Paleo, Keto and gluten-free diets. Sheltering in place has brought out everyone’s inner baker. It’s as the old Moroccan saying goes, “By bread and salt, we are united.”
Traditional cuisines of all kinds have a history of transforming a simple, often stale, loaf of bread into a meal. Among them, skordalia, the bread-based garlicy Greek dip, Middle Eastern fattoush — salad supplemented by stale pitas, and today’s recipe — pappa al pomodoro, Tuscan bread and tomato soup. As it cooks, the bread coalesces with the tomato goodness, enriching the soup and imparting a velvety texture.
Some celebrity chefs have recipes for pappa al pomodoro, one of which takes the better part of two hours. I’m sure it’s lovely, but what makes this soup a winner is its something-from-almost-nothing appeal. It’s a dish born of frugality and expedience.
Making a batch of this soup increases consciousness, reduces waste, and you get a quick, cheap meal out of it, too. It uses old bread in a new way, resulting in a dish that soothes and nourishes at a time we need it most.
Even as we practice social distancing, this is a soup for everyone By bread and salt, we are all indeed united.
Pappa al Pomodoro
Pappa Al Pomodoro: A New Life for Old Bread | Conscious Cookery Day 6
- 1/2 bunch kale or other greens tough center stems removed,
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus a little more to finish
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 28- ounce can chopped tomatoes or 1-1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
- 3 cups stale bread cubes made from 4 or 5 slices of bread *
- 2 to 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- sea salt
- fresh pepper
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves. sliced into skinny ribbons the official culinary term is chiffonade
- olive oil for finishing
- Heat a large pot of salted water. Immerse greens and give them a quick blanche to keep color bright and nutrients intact. Rinse and drain. When cool, chop the greens well, and set aside.
- Wipe out the pot and heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions, chopped garlic, and red pepper flakes. The oil should be hot enough so the vegetables sizzle. Cook for five minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and turn golden and fragrant.
- Add chopped greens and bread and give the mixture a stir, so the bread starts to soften, and the oil gilds everything.
- Reduce heat to medium. Gently pour in tomatoes, taking care to avoid splatters. Now add 2 cups water or vegetable broth. Stir to combine, then cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.
- When you come back, stir again. If soup seems too thick for you, add the remaining water or broth. Season generously with sea salt and pepper and add the basil chiffonade.
- Serve with a finishing drizzle of olive oil
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