The tomato-bread soup (known also as pappa al pomodoro) is one of the most famous dishes of the Tuscan culinary tradition, with a large number of variations, I’d say every family has its own recipe. In Tuscany you can have pappa al pomodoro as a first course or even as a main dish. It is a hearty and simple dish, made according to the Tuscan golden rule: high quality ingredients, a simple cooking process and that’s all. You don’t need long cooking, dressings and many ingredients to make the most out of the freshest produce or the best quality ingredients you can find. This is a valuable example, in fact you basically need just stale bread, tomato purée and extra-virgin olive oil.
The first time my friends from London visited me for a long weekend I decided to have lunch with them in a typical trattoria in order to make them try the famous pappa al pomodoro. Suddenly they came out with: what? do you want us to eat soggy bread? Well, actually it is almost soggy bread, but you need to taste it before you can judge.
Their sparkling eyes and greedy hands, grabbing with a spoon the last crumbles from the pan, are the most accurate description of the final idea they had of pappa al pomodoro: something so delicious you don’t want to leave any lefotver into the dish!
This is an innovative way to present a traditional recipe: the tomato bread soup becomes the filling of fresh pasta ravioli, a real surprise for your taste buds!
- 2,2 lb (1 kg) stale Tuscan bread (plain bread without salt)
- 6 cups (1,5 kg) tomato purée
- 1 red onion
- 1 celery stalk
- ½ glass of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- For the fresh pasta follow this recipe.
- Chop finely the onion, the carrot and the celery and brown them lightly with a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot.
- Soak the stale bread – cut into slices – into cold water.
- When the chopped vegetables are golden brown, pour the tomato purée into the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Squeeze the stale bread with your hands to remove all the water and crumble the bread into the tomato sauce.
- Let it cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Purée the garlic and add it to the tomato bread soup along with some basil leaves.
- Remove from the heat and stir into half of a glass of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and set it aside covered with a lid for at least one hour.
- Now, roll the dough. You can use a classic rolling-pin or the pasta maker: keep rolling and flipping and rolling and flipping until you get a dough that is paper thin. Cut out round shapes with a cookie cutter.
- Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each circle of pasta and crimp into a semicircle, sealing the edges.
- Place them aside until you’re done.
- Boil them for a few minutes in salted water, until they float to the surface and the pasta is soft.
- Serve them with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, grated cheese and a leaf of basil
Since in this moment I’m enjoying Barcelona, the sun and the delicious Spanish food (I’m absolutely sure about the food, finger crossed about the sun) I want to share with you a collage of behind the scenes shots, taken under a livid sky. Thank you Roberto, a friend with an iPhone!