This article on a classic Tuscan dish inspired by cucina povera (poor man’s cuisine) originally appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of Dream of Italy. Updated 2018.
Recipe: Pappa al Pomodoro (Thick Tomato and Bread Soup)
4 slices rustic bread, with or without crusts, toasted
2 garlic cloves, plus 1 clove for the bread
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for serving
6 medium tomatoes, pureed in a food processor or blender
a few fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. salt
Rub the toasted bread with a cut garlic clove and tear into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the minced garlic and cook over medium heat until just golden, about one minute. Add the bread, tomatoes and basil and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with a splash of olive oil. Serves four.
Variation: For a delicious summer soup, put the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and a tiny piece of garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Serve chilled with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and more bread.