First things first—I am so late in posting my weekly menu, but I am going to the grocery store now and will post it later. Or tomorrow.
This has to be one of the cheapest, tastiest, and yummiest dinners one can make. It's comforting and satisfying, and yet at the same time is very humble. There is nothing fancy about combining stale bread, tomatoes, and water, but the fact that it tastes like a complicated, indulgent meal makes this one of my favorites.
It's not only a nice way to use up leftover bread, but it's a way to get all the flavors of a pasta dinner without making pasta.
"Pappa" loosely translated, is Italian for "pablum" or "pap," mushy food that children eat. (Now you know where the Peg Perego "Prima Pappa" high chair got its name—sounds much more elegant than "First Mushy Food," doesn't it?) Hopefully the children in your house (if you have them) will eat this, too.
PAPPA AL POMODORO
This soup is ready in less than 30 minutes and serves 4 for dinner.
- 2-3 glugs of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 loaf of rustic Italian bread or French baguette (not sourdough), cut into 1-2 inch cubes
- 1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes + their juice (I prefer San Marzanos for their sweetness)
- 1 quart of water
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- optional garnishes: finely shredded fresh basil and or grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano cheese.
In a soup pot, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat being careful not to burn the garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown, remove it from the pot. Add the bread stirring to coat with oil. Cook bread in oil for 1-2 minutes. Dump in the tomatoes and water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Just before serving, mash up the bread and tomatoes with the back of a spoon or (what I prefer) whiz with a stick blender until chunky. Check seasonings. Serve in shallow bowls with a drizzle of olive oil on top. If you want other embellishments (my girls love this with cheese), see above.
Note: If you have leftovers, you can do what I did today for our lunch and grill some mild and sweet Italian sausages and serve these sliced up in the soup. Not "traditional," but oh-so-good!