Barefoot Bloggers: Pappa Al Pomidoro

by Melissa on January 1, 2009

The second Barefoot Bloggers recipe for December was chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits. She chose this recipe for Pappa Al Pomidoro, which was something I had never heard of before. It turns out this soup is known as “stale bread soup”. What is interesting about this soup is that you actually simmer cubes of bread in soup, mash them all in, then top with a delectable topping of pancetta, basil and more bread cubes. Again, I found this recipe to be a bit on the salty side and I did not even use all of the salt it called for. Overall though, this was a nice hearty soup for a cold winter day.

Thank you Natalie for a great recipe choice! Click here to learn more about the Barefoot Bloggers.


Pappa Al Pomidoro

  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups) (I omitted)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes. Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the topping, place the ciabatta cubes, pancetta, and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine. Reheat the soup, if necessary, beat with a wire whisk until the bread is broken up. Stir in the Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve hot sprinkled with the topping and drizzled with additional olive oil.

Source: Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

joelen January 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm

I look forward to making this soon!


snooky doodle January 3, 2009 at 2:47 am

interesting!! never hear of such soup! looks ideal for a hot winter day :)


karen January 4, 2009 at 8:04 pm

i cut the salt in half and it was ok for my tastes. i’d never heard of it either before getting ina’s new book. it was an excellent recipe.


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