Cozy up with a Tuscan home cooking classic, topped with fresh basil and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.


Credit: Paola & Murray

Recipe Summary test

45 mins
1 hr 45 mins

"Pappa al pomodoro is the hallmark of traditional Tuscan home cooking. It was invented to use up stale bread, placing an emphasis on ripe tomatoes. The recipe varies from area to area, from family to family, sparking debate, as is always the case when Tuscan town rivalries are provoked." —Giulia Scarpaleggia, food writer, cookbook author, and cooking instructor @julskitchen

This recipe originally appeared in our Fall 2021 issue. Get the magazine here.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. With the tip of a paring knife, cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Add tomatoes to boiling water and cook, undisturbed, until skin begins to pull away at the X, about 30 seconds. Drain tomatoes and transfer to ice bath. Reserve and dry the pot. Once tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Roughly chop tomatoes.

  • Over medium-low heat, drizzle enough oil to cover the bottom of the reserved pot. Stir in the garlic and chili flakes, to taste. Cook, stirring, until garlic is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices. Return to a vigorous simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to soften and come apart, about 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, soak the bread in cold water until saturated and crust softens, 5 to 7 minutes; drain. Working in batches, press and squeeze soaked bread over a sink to thoroughly wring out the excess water. Once tomatoes have softened, stir the bread and 1 cup of tap water into the pot. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring vigorously with a whisk, until the soup is creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

  • Remove soup from heat. Tear the basil leaves and scatter over soup. Drizzle soup with the remaining oil. Let the soup rest for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature or reheat on low, adding more water until soup reaches desired consistency.