Tuscan Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
- Yield 6 servings
A traditional hearty Tuscan soup made with stale ciabatta or farmer-style bread, ripe juicy tomatoes, basil and, of course, green fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 4 to 5 cups water
- 3/4 cup loose-packed fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn plus 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn for garnish
- Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small loaf semolina or Italian bread (about 8 to 10 inches long), sliced or diced and toasted*
- 1/4 cup grated Italian cheese
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonreactive Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, parsley and saute 2 minutes until lightly browned and softened. Add tomatoes and saute 5 minutes longer until mushy. Add water and 3/4 cup basil that’s been torn. Simmer 10 minutes until thickened; season with salt and pepper. Vegetables will be fairly thick, not watery.
- Add toasted bread to soup and stir well. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with the 6 to 8 torn basil leaves and cheese; serve immediately.