Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato-Bread Soup)


We’ve been buying a lot of tomatoes at the farmer’s market recently because we’ve found a farm stand with good prices on heirloom tomatoes. And the tomatoes are really good.

So I keep looking for new things to do with them. The spaghetti al pomodoro was good. As was the tomato soup. But I’m always looking for something new to try.

Angela originally had this at the Zuni Cafe (I was too interested in my Caesar salad to try it). She had liked it so I thought I would try it again.


We always have left over bread and we had the tomatoes so there wasn’t much else that was needed. Plus the recipe seemed easy.

And it was. It’s just barely cooked tomatoes with bread to thicken. It took me a bit longer than I expected simply because the prep work was a bit longer than I expected (particularly the blanching of the tomatoes). But it wasn’t a lot of work.

I liked the soup a lot (although I never did get around to eating the leftovers). Angela didn’t like the barely cooked flavoring of the tomatoes. The bread gives it a consistency similar to cream of wheat which I liked. It’d be good if you were having teeth problems. I plan to make it with roasted tomatoes in the future to see if Angela might like it better.


Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato-Bread Soup)
Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook

2 lbs. tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onions
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 bunch fresh basil
sugar (optional)
1/4 lbs. day old Italian-style bread, without crusts
black pepper

  1. Blanch half the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Rinse them under cool water and peel and core them. Cut them into 1/2″ chunks. Core the remaining tomatoes and cut them into 1/2″ chunks. Make sure to capture all juices.
  2. Sweat the onions over medium-low heat in a large sauce pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the garlic is softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and juices to the sauce pan.
  4. Remove the leaves from the basil stems. Add the basil stems to the sauce. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes just start to break up.
  5. Taste for seasoning and add salt or sugar if necessary.
  6. Remove the basil steams and add the torn basil leaves. Tear the bread into pieces and add to the soup. Stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve the soup with black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 2 to 4.


5 Responses to “Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato-Bread Soup)”

  1. 1 Cedar December 26, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Goodness, that looks sooo delicious….and those tomatoes! Beautiful!

  2. 2 Matt December 27, 2007 at 7:58 am

    We are quite lucky to live in an area where we can get good tomatoes virtually year-round. Unfortunately I usually take a little too long to use them after buying them so at least one of the tomatoes is too far gone to use (it’s usually leaking all over the bag the tomatoes are in).

  3. 3 Lunes January 1, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Wow I have got to try this – have just come across your great site!

  4. 4 Hillary January 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    This is very original and delicious sounding! Nice work and happy new year.

  5. 5 Matt January 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I wouldn’t claim it as original. It’s a traditional Tuscan soup. But it is good.

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