Pappa al Pomodoro

This Tuscan tomato and bread soup is one of my most favorite soups. It's comforting and great for cold and/or rainy nights. It's sure to make your day much much better.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Meme

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions chopped {2 onions}
  • 2 cups carrots diced {5-6 carrots}
  • 2 cups celery diced {6-8 stalks celery}
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 4 cloves garlic minced {about 4-6 cloves}
  • 2 cups ciabatta diced, crusts removed
  • 2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 oz., optional

For the topping

  • 3 cups ciabatta bread diced {with crust}
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon omit for vegetarian, chopped
  • 24 whole fresh basil leaves
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Instructions

For the soup

  • In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel seed, and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic & ciabatta cubes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Using your hands or kitchen scissors, break/cut up the tomatoes. Stir them in to the pot along with the chicken stock or broth, wine, basil, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook partially covered for about 45 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the topping:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Put the chopped bacon and diced ciabatta bread on a large baking pan. I like to keep them on separate sides.
  • Stir the tablespoon of olive oil into the bread.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven. Stir the bread and bacon together.
  • Push the bread & bacon to one half of the pan.
  • Put the basil leaves in one layer on the remaining half of the baking sheet.
  • Bake another 10-15 minutes, until bacon is cooked, basil leaves are crispy & dark, and ciabatta is toasted.

Finish the soup:

  • Once the soup is done, use an immersion blender to chop up some of the soup and incorporate the bread into the soup.
  • Then, stir in the Parmesan cheese, if using.
  • Serve each bowl with the topping. Enjoy!

Notes

*This recipe is adapted from this recipe in Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
*Parmesan cheese is delicious but not necessary
*Omit the wine if desired and use equal amount broth or water