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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
*Slice or dice the bread (about 1-inch thick cubes), place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees 10 minutes until dried out.

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