December 16, 2010

Pappa al Pomodoro

Posted by

Pappa al Pomodoro is a classic Italian soup from Tuscany that is rich and velvety with a blend of tomatoes, garlic, basil and stale Italian bread. The ingredients are simple but the soup is decidedly not.

Canned tomatoes are the best for this and I prefer San Marzano, which are tomatoes grown near Pompeii in rich volcanic soil and are sweeter and more flavorful than others. ShopRite Imported San Marzano Tomatoes are certified D.O.P. and each can is numbered. Supplies are limited, so you need to grab these while you can and stock your shelves so you’ll always have them on-hand.

Very good olive oil is another key component in this soup and ShopRite Imported Extra virgin Olive Oil is perfect here. First pressing olives go into this high quality oil and the flavor is important in this soup. While Extra Virgin olive oil is not the usual for cooking, it’s heated only briefly before being combined with the rest of the ingredients so the flavor stays put.

The Italian bread should be stale by 2 days minimum and very crusty before adding to the soup and although Parmesan cheese is not usual, I think it adds the perfect finishing touch. Serve this with ShopRite Imported Breadsticks and a big green salad for a complete and warming winter meal.

Pappa al Pomodoro

Ready In 30 minutes

Serves 4


1 can (28 ounces) whole ShopRite Imported San Marzano tomatoes

3 Tablespoons ShopRite Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves garlic

30 basil leaves – torn or roughly chopped – about 1 cup

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 cups two-day-old crusty bread torn into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup good quality shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Kosher salt to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot and add garlic and basil. Stir briefly and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes with juice and stock.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer and mash tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. They don’t need to be completely crushed. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

3. Add bread pieces, remove from heat and stir well. Let the bread soak up the juices and then stir briskly until smooth and velvety. Salt to taste.

4. Serve with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan atop.