It’s crazy to think that even though you’ve left a place, some places never really leave you. I was in Tuscany about this time last year, and after wine tasting at a place called Capezzana in less known Carmignano, we had lunch al fresco overlooking the vineyards and the olive groves. I had a bowl of Pappa al Pomodoro, a Tuscan dish of bread soaked in tomato soup. Or tomatoes soaked in bread. It could swing either way.

I can’t be in Italy at the moment, but I could time travel by reigniting those tastes. Here’s a terribly easy attempt using ciabatta, but any crusty European-style bread should work.

This dish truly is wonderful! And best of all, it’s a quick and tasty, perfect for those weeknights when you’re too lazy to make anything elaborate.

You’ll need:

  • Can of diced tomatoes, preferably an Italian brand, OR if you have time to roast your own tomatoes for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, go for it!
  • Cloves of garlic, more if you don’t mind garlic breath
  • A bunch of basil leaves
  • Crusty, European-style bread like ciabatta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Italian cheese like Parmigiano or Asiago

To make:

  1. Saute finely chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil until golden.
  2. Add your canned tomatoes or roasted tomatoes if using.
  3. Stew for 20 minutes until you get a saucy consistency.
  4. Break up your bread and little pieces at a time. For a can of soup, I used about a slice and a half of the ciabatta. Let soak in the soup. Add a little water if you think you’ve added too much bread.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and plate while warm.
  6. Garnish with basil – the more the merrier! Drizzle with EVOO.
  7. It’s not traditional, but if you want to sprinkle with a little grated Asiago or Parmesan, go for it.
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