Stale bread, unsalted, ripe tomatoes, garlic and basil perfume: the “pappa al pomodoro” is one of the most simple and typical dishes of the Tuscan tradition. There are, as always, tens of different versions, not to mention the kinds of tomatoes that should be used (traditionally the ‘costoluto fiorentino’, a very soft rinkled tomato).
Some people even add onions, or rub the stale bread with garlic, or soak the bread both in vegetable broth and the tomatoes’ water. We recommend the most simple and poor version, where the tomato is the undisputable king.
300 gr Tuscan stale bread
500 gr costoluti tomatoes
1 lt vegetable broth
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper (chilly pepper)
Wash and quickly boil the tomatoes. Drain and peel them, eliminating also the seeds. In a pan, brown the garlic in some oil, then add the tomatoes, cut in cubes. Cover and let cook on a strong flame for 5-10 minutes.
Put the stale bread in the vegetable broth (better if still warm) and let it soak. When the crust is soft, squeeze the bread and add it to the tomatoes in the pan.
Cook for an other 10-15 minutes, stirring well until the bread becomes a ‘mush’ and the pappa looks smooth. If it’s too dry add some of the vegetable broth. Take off the fire, add some fresh basil and let the pappa al pomodoro rest for a couple of hours.
The pappa al pomodoro should be eaten warm, even better if cold, add salt and pepper, and some chilly if you want. Finish with extra-virgin olive oil.