Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro

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This thick, Tuscan bread and tomato soup is brimming with vibrant flavors of tomatoes and basil. Use your best extra-virgin olive oil and hearty country bread, and this humble dish represents what I like to call simple sophistication!

  • Author: Sunny Gandara
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan



½ cup (1 dl)  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 small Tropea onions (or substitute other onion), peeled and sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 cloves of garlic, divided
2 cups (5 dl)  light vegetable stock
3 lbs (1.5 kilos) fresh ripe, red tomatoes, cored and diced
½ lb (0.25 kilo)country-style bread, crusts removed
23 stalks of basil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Additional basil leaves and extra-virgin olive oil for garnish


Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, then throw in the onions, carrot, celery, flat-leaf parsley and 2 of the garlic cloves with a pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 5-7 minutes while stirring occasionally, adding a little vegetable stock if needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

When the onions are starting to get soft and translucent, add the tomatoes with another couple of pinches of sea salt, bring to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour on low-medium heat. Add a little vegetable stock if needed. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before passing the mixture through a food mill with a medium disk. Alternatively, add the mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times until you have the desired consistency.

Clean out the pot you were using, place it on medium-low heat, then pour in the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Throw in the other 2 garlic cloves along with a few basil leaves, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add in the bread cubes with about 1 cup of vegetable stock. Keep stirring and when the bread has completely broken down, add in the strained tomato puré mixture along with the remaining basil leaves.

Cook on low for about 1 hour or more, adding in a little water or veg stock if needed to keep the soup from sticking.

Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of vegan ricotta, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil  and garnish with fresh basil leaves.  Plus your favorite Tuscan or Italian wine of course!