Italian Bread Soup
I grew up on soup with bread my friends! Not because we were gourmands in any way but because of necessity. It was a way to fill up the belly and avoid waste by not throwing away the stale bread.
So today I have a simple tomato based Tuscan soup recipe for us just to express my excitement for soup season. I could, I actually do live on this stuff still!
Traditionally made with the last of summer’s San Marzano tomatoes and lots of day old bread, this Italian soup can also be made in the middle of winter using canned tomatoes of course. However, you’ve got to make sure you are using legit Italian tomatoes from the San Marzano region and not the wannabes grown in Jersey. No offense, we just need the authentic stuff here!
To take the flavor profile to a whole new level I did a little bruschetta twist on this and opted for grilling some homemade crusty bread instead of using leftover stale bread. I generously rubbed it with garlic on both sides and brushed it with a little olive oil before adding it to my pot of soup. Let it soak in that magical broth for a few minutes before you dig in!
There Are 4 Popular Italian Bread Soup Recipes
- Ribollita – A winter stew with cavanelo nero or black kale, vegetables and cannellini beans.
- Tuscan vegetable Soup or Acquacotta Maremmana
- Zuppa Lombarda (simple beans in broth with bruschetta)
- Pappa Al Pomodoro (this recipe listed below).
Whichever version of the soup you choose to make, you will need a hearty crusty loaf of bread like my vegan Italian loaf that will hold up to all the liquid.
- Flavor – Start with a little bit of olive oil (or a splash of water for WFPB) and create a flavor base of sautéed onions, garlic, spicy chili peppers and a little touch of rosemary. Go easy with the rosemary as it can have a very strong flavor, so make sure to taste as you go.
- Tomatoes – It’s important to remember and ONLY use the tomatoes, not the sauce or puree they come canned in. A Tuscan Tomato Soup has a thinner consistency that will be thickens up with the addition of the stale bread or bruschetta not the tomato puree.
- The Stock – I like to make my own vegetable stock for this. Pretty much I do a nice fridge clean up and simmer together some carrots, onion, garlic, a bunch of thyme or parsley, peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves. So delicious, but you are free to use a store bought version and even water if you must.
- About the Bread – while my soup is simmering away making the shack smell like a small Tuscan town on a chilly day, I start on the bruschetta. You know how we love our bruschetta around here, right?! Once ready you will use the best kitchen utensils of all times a.k.a your hands and tear it into small chunks before adding it into the soup. Cover with a tight lid and let sit for a good 10 minutes to soak up the broth and the flavors to mingle together. If you can’t resist it’s understandable so just dive in! Mangia bene!
Italian Bread Soup Recipe (Pappa al Pomodoro)
- 1 small yellow onion -diced
- 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes (or 8-10 fresh ones)
- 5 cloves garlic -minced
- 1 clove garlic -whole
- 1.5 qt vegetable stock -low sodium
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary -chopped
- 1 leaf bay
- 5-6 slices crusty bread (1 inch thick)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley -roughly chopped
- sea salt & black pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil for brushing the bruschetta
- In a medium size heavy bottom pot add a splash of water or veggie stock.
- Add the onions and red pepper flakes and sauté together for about 5 minutes until translucent. At this point stir in the rosemary and garlic and give it a good stir.
- Crush the San Marzano tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot together with the bay leaf. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring your tomato soup to a gentle simmer. Cook on low flame for 25 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste with sea salt and set aside.
Make the Bruschetta:
- Meanwhile grill the bread on both sides on a cast iron grill pan/griddle until nice charred grill marks form.Use a large garlic clove and rub both sides of the bread. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. (Skip the oil on a WFPB diet)
- Using your hands tear the bruschetta into rustic pieces and add them to the soup. Cover with a lid and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with the fresh parsley and extra red pepper flakes.
- To make it gluten free simply swap the Italian crusty loaf for a gluten free bread of your choice!
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