Pappa al Pomodoro

Posted on July 25, 2007. Filed under: italian, maindish, soup/stew, vegetable |

I really don’t like Rachael Ray. EVOO drives me nuts – can’t she just say olive oil like the rest of us? – and I might scream if I hear YUM-O and that giggle again. She’s way too “on” on her Food Network shows (I’ve only seen a couple of clips of her talk show, but it was enough for me to see that it was more of the same).

Having said all this, I, uh, own one of her cookbooks. Her recipes are easy and while you’re not going to produce anything resembling a culinary masterpiece, it’ll be tasty. Most of the time. So I bought Express Lane Meals expecting that I’d cook a lot out of it as a couple of the sections are devoted to food that takes less than thirty minutes, but as it turns out, I’ve only made one recipe out of it. But I made it over and over this winter, and it’s become one of my go-to meals when I’m exhausted and just need something that tastes good.

Pappa al Pomodoro is a fancy way of saying tomato soup with bread chunks, and it’s really good for the reasons I outlined above; there’s nothing complicated about it. Especially not this version.

1 loaf of chewy bread, like a ciabatta or any other rustic bread

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 small onion

1 C chicken stock

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 C fresh basil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated Parmasan or Romano cheese, to taste

Chop about 2 cups of the bread and set aside.

Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, and then add the rosemary and the garlic. Peel and halve the onion and grate directly into the soup pot. Saute for a couple of minutes, then remove the rosemary stem. Add chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Add the bread chunks and stir until the bread “melts” into the soup, giving it a thick consistency. Tear or shred the basil, and stir into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with an extra tablespoon of olive oil and however much parmasan or romano cheese you want.

I don’t usually add the whole onion. I like onion fine, except when they’re making my eyes stream, so what generally happens is I grate until I can’t bear it anymore, and then call it good enough. It doesn’t sacrifice the flavor that I’ve noticed. 🙂

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