Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pappa di Pomodoro (Rustic Italian Bread & Tomato Soup)

This is an old family recipe from a dear friend of mine. Her mom is straight off the boat from grand old Italy and shared it with me. I, in turn, hand it over to you, dear reader. Using garden-fresh tomatoes, good olive oil, and top-shelf Parmesan, this dish is as authentic as the Super Mario Brothers, body hair, and tax evasion. Kidding! Calm down. But one thing this soup is: amazing! It is hands-down my favorite Italian dish of all time! It's a total crowd-pleaser and is easier to fix than a Sicilian mafia betting pool. Try it!

Prep time: 3 cocktails

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 onion, chopped finely
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, vine ripened chopped small (this is about 3-5 tomatoes)
5 large leaves fresh basil, minced
3 large celery stalks (with leaves) chopped in half to fit in pot
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 cups water
7 medium slices toasted rustic Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated very finely--only use top-quality cheese!
2 sprigs Italian parsley, minced

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. When warm, add garlic and onions. Saute until they begin to color a bit.

Add tomatoes, basil, celery, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low to medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, bring it back down to medium low and keep at a low boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove and discard celery. Add salt and bread. Cook 10 more minutes on low. Add Parmigiano and parsley. Simmer 5 more minutes and serve. Be a hero!

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