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Tomato Soup Recipe - Pappa col Pomodoro

Tomato Soup in Italy is traditional of Tuscany, where it's called Pappa col Pomodoro. The term pappa indicates any semi-liquid soup, which in this case is made of bread and tomato cooked in water or broth. It is a rustic dish and in the old days it was a good way for farmers to make great comfort food utilizing leftover or stale bread. Fresh basil, garlic and black pepper are also part of the ingredients for the Tuscan Tomato Soup recipe.

In Italy no sugar is ever used when preparing tomato soup or sauce; when cooked properly, good quality tomatoes are sweet enough and will not taste acidic. My version on the Tomato Soup recipe includes sourdough bread and just a sprinkle of Pecorino (Romano) cheese. Enjoy.

Ingredients and instructions (serves 4):

1/2 pound (225 g) of sourdough bread
1 1/2 pound (700 g) of ripe Roma or canned tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of fresh basil roughly chopped
2 cups (1/2 l) of chicken broth, possibly homemade
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of grated Pecorino or Romano cheese

1. If you are using fresh ripe tomatoes, peel them and make sure to remove all the seeds, straining also the juices if necessary; do the same using canned tomatoes as well. Chop in big pieces and set aside in a bowl.
2. Wash and chop the basil and set aside.
3. Peel and chop the garlic, put it in a pan with the olive oil and cook for about 1 minute over medium heat.
4. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and when they start searing, cover, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, cut the bread in thick slices and, if you prefer, remove some of the crust. Using a regular toaster or a toaster oven, slightly brown the slices and then cut them in small cubes.
6. Past the 20 minutes, add the bread to the tomatoes, the basil and the chicken broth. Stir, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and the soup is thick.
7. Serve the tomato soup warm or cold, dividing it in 4 bowls (better if shallow) and topping with the Pecorino or Romano cheese.

Buon appetito!

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