Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Pappa al Pomodoro

Posted February 25, 2009

Pappa al Pomodoro
Adapted from
Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics
Serves 6-8

I intended to vegetarian-ize this recipe by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock, and by leaving out the pancetta called for in the garnish. I unintentionally vegan-ized it by forgetting to add Parmesan cheese right before serving. If you want the cheese, add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan either to the whole pot right before serving, or add it to the individual bowls.

Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped

1 cup medium diced carrots

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced

4 tsp. minced garlic

3 cups (1 inch) diced ciabatta bread

2 (28 ounce) cans good quality Italian plum tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 dry red wine

1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:
3 cups (1 inch) diced ciabatta bread

30 whole fresh basil leaves

Olive oil

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onions, carrots, and fennel. Cook for 7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes.

Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. (DN: I just stuck my immersion blender directly into the can to save washing the food processor.) Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the vegetable stock, red wine, basil, 1 tbsp. salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. For the topping, place the ciabatta and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine.

Reheat the soup, if necessary, and beat with a wire whisk until the bread is broken up. (DN: I used my immersion blender again here.) Serve hot sprinkled with topping.

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