Known in Tuscany and all over Italy as 'Pappa al pomodoro', this thick soup is made with tomatoes, Parmesan and stale bread. You can use this soup as base for a more gourmet dish, adding grilled fish or prawns on top.
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For the tomato sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1L tomato passata
2 tablespoons milk
For the stock
1 celery stalk
300g stale Italian bread, chopped (or any crusty bread)
To make the tomato sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion, carrot and celery. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Stir in tomato passata and milk. Season to taste with salt; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside.
To make the stock: Place onion, carrot and celery in a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil; simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the vegetables and keep the stock warm.
Stir 350ml of stock into prepared tomato sauce. Add the chopped stale bread; stir and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the bread to soften.
Use an electric beater to whisk the soup until it reaches the texture of a mousse.
Ladle into bowls, top with shaved Parmesan and drizzle over some more olive oil. Decorate with basil leaves and serve.
If you prepare the soup in advance, you can reheat it and add about 120ml of stock to get the right consistency.