One of my all-time favourite comfort foods is Pappa al Pomodoro and we make it about every other week, usually when we have too much bread that is not going to be eaten. Thomas loves it (no surprise there) but Matteo has decided that he doesn’t like it even if I smother it with parmesan cheese! So Most kids will love this as it’s basically just bread and tomato sugo but I’m not making any promises if your children are as fussy as my Matteo.
Pappa al Pomodoro is a Tuscan dish with peasant origins, a simple tomato soup taken to the next level with old bread, fresh basil and a generous splash of extra-virgin olive oil.
‘Pappa’ which literally translates as baby-food even has a popular song written about it. It is very easy to make and you will definitely go back for seconds!
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 kg fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped*
350gm day-old Italian tuscan bread, roughly sliced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 handful of fresh torn basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
In a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame.
Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add chopped tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down,
about 5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, add the stale bread chunks and stock.
Continue simmering until all the bread has absorbed as much liquid as possible, yielding a baby food-like consistency.
Stir in the basil. Season, to taste, with salt & pepper and let the soup continue simmering for 10 more minutes.
Serve immediately in warmed soup bowls. Splash with extra Olive Oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
*You can substitute the fresh tomatoes for polpa or passata.