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My grandma’s tomato bread soup

The tomato-bread soup (known as pappa al pomodoro) is one of the most famous and prepared dishes of our culinary tradition, with a large number of versions.

It used to be my grand-grandad favourite dish. When I was a child my grand-grandad Pietro was very old, he had a huge hand, in which my little child hand seemed to disappear. He was a bit confused, so he kept on searching for the cows in my house, where there used to be the stable before. I used to run after him, take his hand and bring him back to Grandma Marcella, saying “Where are you going Grandad? There are no more cows!” while shaking my head as a grown-up little woman.

One day Grandma Marcella left him at home: my mother’s task was to prepare lunch for Grandad Piero. He asked for pappa al pomodoro and my mother, newlywed bride, answered frankly: how can I make it? My grand-grandad answer is in the top ten of our family comic moments: “Listen to me, make some plain pasta, it’s better!”

As you’ll see, it’s not so hard to prepare, following Grandma Marcella’s directions!

My grandma's tomato bread soup

No ratings yet
Print Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Tuscan
Servings 4


  • 200 g of stale Tuscan bread
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A few basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dried chili pepper
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  • Break the bread into large pieces, put it in a large pot.
  • Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes, so that you can easily peel them. Deseed the tomatoes, chop them and add them to the bread, togethr with garlic, basil leaves and salt. Cover with water.
  • There are various traditions: we use water, but you can also use a light vegetable broth.
  • Let the soup simmer, stirring frequently so that the bread can become a mush. Let cook for about 30 minutes: it should be as in the picture above!
  • Set aside to cool and serve with some extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves. If you like it, you can add some chili.
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* Tuscan bread is made without salt, this is the main characteristic of our bread.

** Tomato-bread soup is a dish that, with its simplicity, exalts tomato quality: we used florentine tomatoes, wonderful, with a red, firm and juicy pulp. They’re perfect in a salad or to make a sauce, not to mention pappa al pomodoro!

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Hi Jul, we just voted! good luck…this recipe is so fabulous but we just need a few little things to make it right??? like…the Tuscan bread and the Florentine tomatoes and the incredible olive oil? you are so lucky to have those amazing products. We will try it California style…we will probably add some chipotle pepper and a dash of orange zest? it will be different, but it will be good. thanks & best, s

  2. Great stuff! I love pappa al pomodoro!

    Let me ask you, as a Tuscan, is it wrong to put more tomato in? Or to use pelati if you cannot find good, fresh tomato? Just curious…

  3. @ Mathilde: a perfect recipe for summer, jus as panzanella!

    @ Sherry: ciao Sherry! thank you for your vote! 🙂 Ok, I reckon it.. I’m a lucky girl! but I’m absolutely curious to see your California style pappa al pomodoro! Orange zest? interesting!

    @ Frank: Hi Frank!
    I think you can definetly use as much tomato as you want, as it is a simple soup, made just with simple but high quality ingredients… so, if you have good tomatoes, don’t exitate to use them! Pelati – good quality pelati – are good as well!
    Pappa al pomodoro is not a strict recipe… you can customerize it according to your needs and ingredients!

  4. I love pappa al pomodoro! you should better cook a lot to me and juz and Ermanno once we come back in your town 😀

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