Typical Tuscan recipe, particularly from the city of Siena, the tomato and bread soup (pappa al pomodoro) is a genuine dish of simple origins, made with tomatoes, rustic bread, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Originally the tomato and bread soup was prepared to use the bread left from the previous day, resulting perfect for the cold winter days, while in the warm months was served fresh and sprinkled with fresh basil leaves and lots of olive oil. Each family applies small variations to this recipe, for example you can add leeks, carrots, celery or onions. Pappa al pomodoro became very famous outside Tuscany thanks to singer Rita Pavone, a famous italian artist who contributed to make this soup more popular all over the country.
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups of vegetable broth
olive oil, to taste
1 1/2 cups of cubed rustic italian Tuscan bread
1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
To start, cut the Tuscan bread into thin slices that you need to toast on a frying pan (or in the oven at 200°C) for a couple of minutes. Past this time, remove them and let them cool down for a minute, then rub the peeled garlic cloves over the toasted Tuscan bread. Crush the tomatoes by hand as you put them in a bowl, but remember to discard any hard stem ends or stray tomato skins.
Take a frying pan and arrange the slices of bread on it, then add the tomato puree and the vegetable broth, enough to cover the bread completely. Now add salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook over low heat for about 45-50 minutes, so that the liquid can evaporate; stir occasionally to reduce the bread to mush. When cooked, add salt and turn off the heat, adding a few chopped fresh basil leaves. Finish with a lot of extra virgin olive oil, your tomato and bread soup is ready.