Pappa al pomodoro is a classic Tuscan tomato soup which uses up stale bread. Frugal, tasty peasant food at its very best. Adding some Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele makes it a dish worthy of a dinner party.
There is something supremely comforting about good honest peasant food, and a bowl of pappa al pomodoro is no exception. By and large peasant food may be frugal and ordinary, but it is rarely light on taste.
Pappa al pomodoro is a classic Tuscan dish, a simple tomato soup that is thickened and flavoured with a couple of slices of rustic bread. Like all these things there are innumerable variations that have developed over the years, handed down over the generations from cook to cook in the family. My first bowl of pappa al pomodoro was on a trip to Tuscany several years ago, when we stayed on a remote Tuscan farm, and were cooked for by the Nonna, or grandmother of the family.
I came home having learnt lots about Italian food and cooking with a new mantra “of quality ingredients, simply cooked” to apply in my own kitchen. This version of pappa al pomodoro uses canned tomatoes, others use fresh. I suspect that the recipe has rarely been written down, but instead passed by one generation to the younger, learnt by children watching the family meal being cooked.
To make this classic dish a little more special, I’ve garnished with slithers of Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele, quality artisan products that enhance and lift the original dish to another level. Both products proudly carry a PDO showing they are made to carefully set out rules guaranteeing the quality and origin. You can learn about the production process of both Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano here.
Like all Italian food this will be better if you use quality ingredients, pick a good brand of tomatoes, and use good bread – sourdough would be ideal. Leftover soup can be frozen and used as a pasta sauce, or even stirred into a risotto, but unless you set out to make a double batch it is highly unlikely you will have leftovers.
If you love these types of tomato based dishes you may also like my tomato savoury overnight oats, garnished with prosciutto and a Grana type cheese.
Pappa al Pomodoro with Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele
For the broth
- 1 onion ((peeled and quartered))
- 2 carrots ((peeled and chopped lengthwise))
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 litre water
For the soup
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 onion ((finely chopped))
- 1 celery stick ((finely chopped))
- 1/2 carrot ((finely chopped))
- 2 basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic ((peeled and sliced))
- 500 ml passata or chopped canned tomatoes
- 4 slices 2 day old bread
- 40 g Grana Padano
- 2 slices Proscuitto di San Daniele
For the broth
- Place all the ingredients into a pan and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
For the soup
- Make a soffritto by frying the onion, celery and carrot in the oil until they are soft. Add the basil and garlic and cook for a few more seconds.
- Turn down the heat and add the bread and the passata or canned tomatoes. Allow the bread to absorb the tomatoes.
- Strain and then add the broth, a ladle at a time, heat to a simmer, let it cook for 10 minutes, stir to break down the bread, then allow to cool. If you want blitz the cooked carrots in a mini food processor and add to the soup (discard the onion and celery used to make the broth).
- Reheat and let the soup cool twice more, stir once more. Blitz with a blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
- Serve garnished with shards of Grana Padano and slithers of Proscuitto di San Daniele.
Recipe post commissioned by Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele. All opinions our own.
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