Pappa al pomodoro is a poor first course of peasant origin, typically Tuscan, to be precise in Siena; prepared with stale Tuscan bread, peeled tomatoes, garlic, basil and plenty of extra virgin olive oil, it was originally made as a recovery plate for the leftover bread.
Excellent as a hot soup in winter, the tomato soup is equally inviting and tasty in summer at room temperature, to be enjoyed sprinkled with excellent and abundant extra virgin olive oil and chopped basil leaves.
As often happened with simple, poor and recovered dishes, even tomato soup has undergone small variations applied by each family, based on personal tastes.
And so I did
First of all instead of serving it as a first course I imagined it as an appetizer, served with chic twist.
A Revisited Pappa Al Pomodoro
- 360 gr of stale Tuscan Bread
- 220 g of pealed tomatoes (either fresh or canned, but I chose the fresh ones)
- 2 big ripe tomatoes
- A bunch of fresh basil leaves
- Garlic clove
- 8 spoonfuls of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 sheets of Gelatin to thicken
- Salt & Pepper
In a pan put half the oil and the garlic, simmer (you can eliminate the garlic if preferred), add the tomatoes and crush them with a fork. Add salt and pepper, and the basil previously cut ”Julienne.”
Cook on low flame until the water is reduced.
Remove from the stove and add the bread previously cut in small cubes. Mix well, but be careful not to chop and mush it too much!
Transfer it into your serving dishes of choice. for me it was small aperitif glasses. Then cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge.
Bring a casserole if water to a boil and put the tomatoes in for a few minutes so that they can be easily peeled.
Peel them and put them in a blender with the rest of the Extra Virgin Oil, basil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep some of the peels for decoration, the best looking ones 😊
Put the gelatin sheets in cold water to soak, while in a small casserole bring to a boil a little vegetable broth, add the gelatin and stir until it is all well mixed. Add the broth to the blended tomatoes and stir well.
Put the mix into small molds big or small enough to top your previously prepared breadcrumbs and tomato mix. You need to come up with a ”cover” for your container of choice.
When thickened transfers the ”tops” over your serving dishes, decorate with the basil julienne, and a little piece of tomato peel grilled and dipped in olive oil.
It is a dish of good effect, yet cheap and super-nutritional.
Like most of the Italian dishes, this one was created out of necessity. It was when Italy was poor that the best creative dishes became a reality.