Photo © Serena Puosi

Pappa al pomodoro

A simple recipe, made with simple ingredients, but with a strong flavor: Pappa al pomodoro A dish of the poor, of peasant origins, prepared with stale bread (because nothing was thrown away), peeled tomatoes, basil, garlic and plenty of extra virgin olive oil.
Perfect as a soup to warm yourself up during the winter, but also good and tasty during the summer, to be served at room temperature.


  • 1 liter of vegetable broth
  • 300g stale Tuscan bread
  • 800g very ripe tomatoes (or tomato paste)
  • 35g extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 hot pepper
  • basil to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • fine salt to taste
  • 1 pinch of sugar


1  First of all, prepare a liter of vegetable broth. Then proceed to prepare the Tuscan bread. Cut it into thin slices and place these slices on a pan covered with parchment paper. Bake at 200 degrees for a few minutes. Once removed from the oven, let the slices cool and rub the previously peeled cloves of garlic over them.

2  Take a high sided earthenware pot (or a high sided non-stick pan) and place the toasted bread inside. Pour in the tomato paste and the vegetable broth until the bread slices are covered. Add a pinch of sugar (to counteract the acidity of the tomato) and cook it over a low heat for 40-50 minutes in order to make the liquid evaporate. Remember to stir occasionally so as to diminish the bread in the soup.

3 Season with salt and pepper Once cooked, after the heat is off, garnish with a leaf of basil.

An alternative version for those who love stronger, more distinct flavors: Prepare a sauté with extra virgin olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, and brown the toasted bread (making sure you don’t burn the garlic). At that point continue to follow the recipe, pouring in the tomatoes and the vegetable broth.

I Comuni di Terre di Siena