Papa al Pomodoro Recipe

January 18th, 2009  | Print this page Print This Article

Papa al Pomodoro is, truly, one of the most delicious and simple soups you can make, originating in Tuscany and consisting of not much more than tomatoes, bread, and olive oil.  In my case, it’s also great for creating the illusion of summer; the reality is very wintry wind and rain hammering my window as I type!

Pappa al Pomodoro

Papa al Pomodoro

I’ve used entirely tinned tomatoes in this recipe for the simple reason that “fresh” tomatoes taste rather bland at this time of year (it being January in the UK right now); you could easily replace up to half the tomatoes by weight with either cherry or plum tomatoes though (the latter being my preference).  If you do, I’d suggest roasting them in the oven at 180 degrees for half an hour or so to soften and add flavour before use.

Another point worth mentioning is the addition of sugar as a seasoning below; this is certainly something not to be afraid of.  Tomatoes are a fruit after all containing natural sugars, and sometimes need a little help to be restored back to their best.  I needed around 1 teaspoon and it really did make all the difference without tasting un-natural.  It’s also important that you use good tinned tomatoes; the cheap supermarket brands lack any real flavour.

This recipe is also being submitted for this weeks “Weekend Herb Blogging”, being held at “The Crispy Cook“.

Papa al Pomodoro Recipe - Ingredients

  • 4 * 400g Tins Plum Tomatoes
  • 500g Stale bread (I used sourdough), crusts removed & torn into rough chunks.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Handful of fresh Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to season
  • Sugar (optional)

Papa al Pomodoro Recipe - Method

  1. Begin by chopping your garlic into thin slices, then heating gently in a pan with a good sized glug of olive oil (50ml approx).
  2. Before the garlic starts to go brown add in all four tins of tomatoes and 300ml of water.  Stir well.
  3. Mush the tomatoes up a bit with a wooden spoon and bring the whole thing up to the boil before reducing down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes; about 5 minutes before the end add in your bread and basil and stir.
  5. Remove from the heat and check for seasoning, making the necessary adjustments with salt, pepper and sugar (if needed).  Allow to stand for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour in approx 100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil and stir loosely to combine.  Add more water if needed whilst stirring to create a thick, porridge like consistency.
  7. Ladle into bowls and top with yet more extra virgin olive oil and a sprig of fresh basil.
  8. Enjoy!
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47 Responses to “Papa al Pomodoro Recipe”

  1. Rachel says:

    Thanks for sending this delicious blast of summer over to Weekend Herb Blogging. I’m with you in trying to beat off the winter blahs (6 weeks of snow and ice storms about every third day in upstate New York this season!) with some summer goodness. Lovely recipe and photo.

    • scott says:

      You’re welcome for the submission. I’m glad we don’t have the storms and such-like that you’re having - it would take more than a bowl of tomato soup to heat me up!

  2. Shikishi says:

    Looks amazing (and my favorite, simple). If I hadn’t already started the slow cooker stew I would certainly have considered this dish - it looks like a lovely complement to the snow outside!

    • scott says:

      I don’t have a slow cooker so have to rely on the old fashioned way. Still, I wish I had snow outside too (but not too much - it’s good for aesthetic value only!)

  3. Hélène says:

    I read about this soup before but never tasted it. This surely looks beautiful and good. I love UK, been there only once and January. Hope to go back soon.

  4. Yum! I love this dish!!! It’s so rich, hearty and delicious! I used to eat this all the time when I was living in Italy. I love how simple food can be so amazing!

    • scott says:

      I’m sure the Italian version is better than mine - it’s so difficult to get good fresh tomatoes out of season over here. Perhaps I need to grow my own this year?

  5. gaga says:

    That looks lovely! Some great crusty bread would be sooo good dipped in that.

  6. One of my all-time favorite soups. I’ll never forget the trattoria in Florence where I first tasted it.

  7. johanna says:

    wow this looks utterly delicious! not just the photography… a bowlful of this soup would do wonders right now, when it’s chucking it down outside and i am nursing a hangover. will make this… today!

  8. Faith Kramer says:

    I’m with you on using a bit of sugar with tomatoes — I also like it with the more bitter greens.

  9. Jeanne says:

    You are so right - tomatoes this time of year are so blah in the UK, just a shadow of themselves. My mom always used to add sugar to any tinned tomato products that she used - and now I do too, and it realyl does make a difference. This soup looks exquisite, and comforting on a night like tonight.

  10. Beautiful soup, since yesterday when I saw it I can’t stop thinking of it :))))
    Today I had no time, but tomorrow I will get some tinned tomatoes!
    Thank you for your comments about my mini sandwiches… we are not having many parties as well here, but my partner and I we were getting married recently and after few minute ceremony in Town Hall we went home to have some nice food :)

    Enjoy your evening,

  11. Your lovely pictures really do justice to your beautiful soup. Glad to see you making the point that fresh tomatoes aren’t always a better choice than canned. When you compare tasteless winter tomatoes vs. those canned at their peak of flavor, your advice to use canned is exactly right.

  12. matt wright says:

    This is, by far, my favorite tomato soup. I completely agree that you have to use really good canned tomatoes for this - preferably Tuscan if you can. I just love it when something this simple tastes so darn good.

    Glad you left a message on my blog, great to find yours!

  13. Looks gorgeous! I love the thicker, chunkier texture of it and the slight sheen from the oil. Mmmmm.

  14. Carolyn Jung says:

    Looking at this soup makes me think not only of summer, but summer in Florence. Ahhh. Well, since I can’t afford a trip to Europe right now, making this soup will be the next best thing to an Italian get-away.

  15. mycookinghut says:

    This looks great! It is what I need to get all the vitamins out of this soup… the weather is not treating me well! :(

  16. Vani says:

    Had a quick peek at your recent posts and saw the top secret! Congratulations! How exciting this must be! Hope the mom-to-be and the baby-in-the-oven are both doing well.
    Soup looks fab! Just what the doctor ordered for cold winter days! :)

  17. I know I’d adore this soup, it looks so invitingly delicious! Beautiful photography too! I think you really captured the voluptuousness of the soup :)

    • scott says:

      Thanks - I’m not a good photographer but you can thank Jaden for giving me tips to bring me up to my now “not quite as bad as I was” level. Even my photography skills can’t kill what is a delicious soup!

  18. Pepy says:

    Nice compo! With dark background and bright POI.

  19. Wow great photo! This sounds delicious. I like adding honey or some grated carrot into tomato dishes for some sweetness.

  20. noobcook says:

    First time hearing of this soup and it looks so delicious. Beautiful photography as well, it’s stunning … thanks for visiting me =)

  21. pablopabla says:

    That looks really rich! A good combination of healthy ingredients!

    Thanks for dropping by at my blog and hope to see you often :D

  22. That photo looks so delicious I feel like I can lick it all up! The recipe looks simple enough so I’m really gonna try it out for myself. I should add some spice to it too. Where I come from people like it hot!

  23. Soma says:

    One of the most beautiful & rich looking soup I have ever encountered. I love tomato bread soup, always have a big serving whenever we visit this particular italian restaurant. pretty picture Scott.

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