Pappa al Pomodoro

This recipe is for yet another famous Tuscan soup whose name, pappa, simply means puree. It is often made in very large batches, and is always served just slightly warm or at room temperature. The addition of the bread as a thickener creates a soup hearty enough to be a main course. If you are serving this as a starter, keep the portions small. For the best flavor, use the best tomatoes you can find. I suggest using Pomi tomatoes if you are using canned, or if you choose the fresh option, make sure you have very ripe, tasty tomatoes. I like to serve this soup just slightly warm, garnished with a pretty sprig of basil, some cracked black pepper and a drizzle of very good olive oil.

Note: You can make this soup with both canned or fresh tomatoes. If I am using fresh ones, I cut them in half, remove the core and as many seeds as I can. I then roast them in the oven at 250 degrees F. for two hours cut side down. I let them cool and pass them through the food mill. I find this extra step intensifies the flavor and creates a tastier soup.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Pappa al Pomodoro

A traditional Tuscan soup made with tomatoes and thickened with bread.


  • 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 6 Cups Prepared Tomatoes (See Note)
  • 5 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves (Set Aside Some Pretty Leaves For Garnish)
  • 5-6 Cups Stale Italian Bread Cubes, Crust Removed
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve:

  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Basil Pesto


  1. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill.
  2. In a large pot saute the onions in the oil until they are translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Skewer the garlic cloves on a long wooden skewer or on toothpicks to be removed later and drop in the soup.
  5. Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
  6. Add the bread cubes and basil and season.
  7. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Take a whisk and break up the bread to thicken the soup.
  9. Remove from the heat.
  10. Mix the pesto with a little olive oil and drizzle this on top of the soup before serving.