Monday, February 20, 2012

Pappa al Pomodoro

I came across this recipe searching for a way to use up some stale bread. I usually make Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole with leftover bread but my husband cannot understand eating breakfast for dinner. I have used bits bread to thicken up my Roasted Tomato Soup but I had almost an entire loaf of bread that needed using. I've always heard about the Italian soup Pappa al Pomodoro or Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup and thought it would be perfect. The original recipe calls for fresh tomatoes but this being winter, the tomatoes are not very tasty. I opted to use 3 cans of diced tomatoes instead of fresh. I plan to try this again in the summer with fresh tomatoes when my beloved farmer's market returns.

Pappa al Pomodoro
recipe slightly adapted from Oven Love originally adapted from Feasts and Fotos

1 large red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
20 basil leaves, minced
6 ounce can V8 vegetable juice
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups day old bread, crusts removed and cubed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Coat a large wide pot with olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until it has reduced by half.  Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper; cook the soup over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Add the vegetable juice, heavy cream and the bread cubes.  Continue to cook the soup for another 15-20 minutes, allowing the bread to break down.  Use an immersion blender or blender and puree the soup until all the bread cubes are fully incorporated. 

Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the soup and serve.