Tuscan Bread Soup

An all time favourite, made to squeeze every last bit of the summer out.  Sweet ripened roasted tomatoes, day old bread, and a whole lot of love (olive oil).  Simple really is best.  

Over Christmas last year, I went to Florence for a couple of days. Although I’m sure the city is beautiful, I can’t really tell people I visited Florence and fell in love with it, purely because I was confined within the walls of my Air Bnb with the flu, from the day we arrived to the day we left. The one aspect of Florence I did get to experience, was dinner time. At around 8 each night, I would pile layer upon layer on, and we would go down to a nearby trattoria. I never had to look at the menu, and would order either pappa al pomodoro or ribollita, without fail, every time.

This past summer, pappa al pomodoro made it onto my dinner table at least once a week. Although it’s typically made all winter long with tomatoes that have been freshly canned and jarred at the end of the summer, I took advantage of all of the bursting beauties we were graced with this year and made this soup with the fresh stuff. I promise you’ll want to fit this one into your dinner schedule and squeeze out every last bit of summer, before the tomatoes are gone for the year. It’s warming, comforting and just SO delicious. This recipe is short and sweet, so I’ll keep the post the same way.

Tomato Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

(Serves 4-5)

500 g mixed organic cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil, separated
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cans good quality plum tomatoes
4 cups day old bread, torn into pieces
8-10 basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C. Spread the tomatoes on a roasting tray, and drizzle with a tbsp of the olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Toss until coated, and then roast them for 20-25 minutes. While the tomatoes roast, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add in the canned tomatoes, 1 can’s worth of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then cook 20 minutes. Mix in the bread pieces and the basil leaves, lower the heat, and let the soup cook for an additional 10 minutes.

The roasted tomatoes will be done at this point, so remove them from the oven and scoop them into the pot, along with all their juices. Stir the soup and add the remaining tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Divide the soup between the bowls and serve with a little extra basil on top.