Pappa Al Pomodoro: Tomato Soup with Bread in Italy

Never again toss aside that half-loaf of stale bread lurking in your pantry! Instead, let’s transform it into a culinary masterpiece: Pappa al Pomodoro. This traditional Italian bread soup is not only a delicious way to utilize leftover bread but also a testament to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Italian cuisine. With just a few simple ingredients and minimal effort, you can whip up a hearty, comforting, and vegan-friendly dish that will warm your soul in just 30 minutes.

Pappa Al Pomodoro Tomato Soup with Bread in Italy
Pappa Al Pomodoro Tomato Soup with Bread in Italy

To begin, gather your ingredients. You’ll need that half-loaf of stale bread, preferably a rustic Italian loaf or baguette, sliced into cubes. Additionally, grab a can of high-quality whole tomatoes, some vegetable broth, olive oil, garlic, onions, fresh basil leaves, salt, and pepper. These basic pantry staples come together to create a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving seconds.

Start by heating a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions and minced garlic, and sauté until they turn golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. This aromatic base sets the stage for the rest of the dish, infusing it with depth and complexity.

Next, add the canned tomatoes to the pot, crushing them with your hands or a wooden spoon to release their juices. Allow the tomatoes to simmer for a few minutes, breaking down and intensifying in flavor. Then, pour in the vegetable broth, stirring to combine everything into a rich, savory broth.

Now it’s time to add the star ingredient: the stale bread cubes. Toss them into the pot, stirring gently to ensure they soak up the flavorful broth. As the bread softens and absorbs the liquid, it transforms into a luscious, hearty soup base that’s both satisfying and comforting.

To finish off the dish, tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle them over the soup, infusing it with vibrant herbal notes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting the flavors as needed. Simmer the soup for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to meld together, then ladle it into bowls and serve piping hot.

With its rustic charm and robust flavors, Pappa al Pomodoro is the epitome of Italian comfort food. Each spoonful transports you to the sun-drenched hills of Tuscany, where simple ingredients shine brightly in every dish. So the next time you find yourself with leftover bread, don’t despair—embrace the Italian spirit of cucina povera and turn it into something truly extraordinary. Buon appetito!

Italian cuisine is renowned for its ability to transform simple pantry staples into extraordinary dishes that resonate with warmth, tradition, and simplicity. One such dish that encapsulates this essence is Pappa al Pomodoro. With just a handful of basic ingredients, this rustic Tuscan bread and tomato soup embodies the epitome of Italian comfort food, passed down through generations with unwavering admiration.

Pappa Al Pomodoro Tomato Soup with Bread in Italy

Pappa al Pomodoro stands as a testament to the Italian culinary philosophy: less is more. Its humble ingredients — bread, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basil — come together in a harmonious symphony of flavors, creating a dish that is both comforting and soul-satisfying. It’s a dish that speaks to the resourcefulness of Italian home cooks, who ingeniously repurpose stale bread and surplus tomatoes into a culinary masterpiece.

The preparation of Pappa al Pomodoro is as simple and straightforward as its ingredients. Fresh tomatoes are often preferred, but canned tomatoes work beautifully, especially when ripe, flavorful tomatoes are out of season. The tomatoes are simmered with fragrant garlic and onions, infusing the broth with their sweet essence. A handful of torn basil leaves adds a fresh herbal note, elevating the dish with its aromatic fragrance.

But the real magic happens when stale bread is added to the simmering tomato broth. As the bread soaks up the flavors, it undergoes a remarkable transformation, turning velvety soft and almost custard-like in texture. The result is a soup that is simultaneously hearty and delicate, with each spoonful delivering a burst of comforting flavors.

What’s truly remarkable about Pappa al Pomodoro is its versatility. Whether served piping hot on a cold winter’s night or chilled on a sweltering summer day, it never fails to delight the palate. Its robust flavors only deepen and intensify with time, making it the perfect make-ahead dish for busy weeknights or leisurely gatherings with loved ones.

In a world where culinary trends come and go, Pappa al Pomodoro remains a timeless classic, a cherished heirloom recipe that transcends generations. Its humble origins and unfussy preparation serve as a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary meals can arise from the simplest of ingredients. So, whether enjoyed hot, cold, or at room temperature, Pappa al Pomodoro is sure to evoke feelings of warmth, nostalgia, and pure culinary bliss with every spoonful.

Pappa al Pomodoro Ingredients and Substitutions

Pappa al Pomodoro is a classic Tuscan tomato and bread soup that’s simple yet delicious. Here are the traditional ingredients along with some possible substitutions:

  1. Tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are often used for their rich flavor, but any ripe, flavorful tomatoes will do. Canned tomatoes can also be used when fresh ones aren’t available.
  2. Bread: Ideally, stale Tuscan or sourdough bread is used. However, any rustic, crusty bread will work. You want a bread that can hold its texture when soaked in the soup without turning to mush.
  3. Garlic: Fresh garlic adds depth of flavor to the soup. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder or garlic paste, but fresh is preferred.
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is a key ingredient in Italian cooking and adds richness to the soup. You can’t really substitute it, but any good quality olive oil will work if you don’t have extra virgin.
  5. Basil: Fresh basil leaves are traditionally used to add a fresh, aromatic flavor. You can substitute with dried basil, but fresh is recommended for the best flavor.
  6. Salt and Pepper: To taste, for seasoning.
  7. Vegetable Broth or Water: Used as the base of the soup for flavor. Vegetable broth adds depth, but water can be used in a pinch.
  8. Onion: Some recipes call for onion to add sweetness and depth. If you don’t have onion or prefer not to use it, you can skip this ingredient.
  9. Red Pepper Flakes: Optional for a bit of heat. You can adjust the amount or skip it altogether based on your preference.
  10. Parmesan Cheese: Traditionally served grated on top of the soup. You can omit this if you want a vegan version or if you don’t have it on hand.

Remember, while substitutions can work in a pinch, they may alter the flavor and authenticity of the dish. It’s always best to use the traditional ingredients if possible for the most authentic taste.

How to Make Pappa al Pomodoro (Italian Bread Soup)

Pappa Al Pomodoro: Tomato Soup with Bread in Italy

This easy Italian soup is great for late nights, weeknight dinners, and easy lunches alike! This simple pappa al pomodoro recipe takes about 30 to make and really comes in handy when you’re hungry with a near-empty fridge! To make Pappa al Pomodoro:

Making Pappa al Pomodoro, a traditional Italian bread soup, is a delightful culinary adventure. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:


  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 500g (1 lb) stale Tuscan bread (or any rustic bread), diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 liter (4 cups) vegetable or chicken broth
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)

Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe


  1. Prepare the Tomatoes:
    • If using fresh tomatoes, score a small “X” on the bottom of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Then, transfer them to an ice bath to cool quickly. Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds, and chop them.
    • If using canned tomatoes, simply chop them.
  2. Sauté Aromatics:
    • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add Tomatoes and Bread:
    • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes until they start to break down and release their juices.
    • Add the diced bread to the pot. Stir well to combine with the tomatoes and aromatics.
  4. Simmer:
    • Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
    • Let the soup simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bread has absorbed most of the liquid and the soup has thickened to your desired consistency.
  5. Season and Finish:
    • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Tear in some fresh basil leaves for added flavor.
    • If the soup is too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding more broth or water.
  6. Serve:
    • Ladle the Pappa al Pomodoro into bowls. Optionally, garnish each serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.
    • Serve hot and enjoy with some crusty bread on the side.


  • For the best flavor, use ripe and flavorful tomatoes.
  • Traditional Tuscan bread is the best choice for authenticity, but any rustic, crusty bread will work.
  • Adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more or less broth according to your preference.
  • Pappa al Pomodoro tastes even better the next day, as the flavors have more time to meld together. It also freezes well for future meals.

What to Serve with Pappa al Pomodoro

Tuscan bread soup, known as pappa al pomodoro, embodies the essence of rustic Italian cuisine. It’s a humble yet deeply satisfying dish that can stand alone as a comforting meal or serve as a delightful opener to a dinner party. Whether enjoyed on a casual weeknight or presented as an appetizer at a gathering, it pairs beautifully with a variety of salads and complements a range of dishes.

For a casual weeknight dinner or lunch, simplicity is key. While Tuscan bread soup can certainly hold its own, it’s always nice to have a side salad to add some freshness and crunch to the meal. One excellent choice is a Lemon Parmesan Lettuce Salad, featuring crisp lettuce leaves tossed with tangy lemon dressing and finished with a sprinkle of savory Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, a Kale Salad with Roasted Pistachios offers a delightful contrast of textures and flavors, with hearty kale leaves and crunchy nuts.

Transforming this soup into an elegant appetizer for a dinner party is effortless. Simply serve it in small cups or bowls as a first course, allowing guests to savor its rich tomato and bread flavors. Follow it up with savory Italian Baked Chicken Breasts, which complement the soup beautifully with their tender texture and aromatic seasoning. And of course, no Italian gathering would be complete without Negronis—a classic cocktail that adds a touch of sophistication to any occasion.

After indulging in such a hearty meal, a light and refreshing dessert is the perfect finale. Baked Pears offer a delicate sweetness that balances the richness of the preceding dishes, especially when paired with a Citrus Salad bursting with vibrant flavors. This combination provides a satisfying conclusion to the meal, leaving guests feeling both satisfied and refreshed.

Whether enjoyed on a cozy evening at home or as part of a stylish dinner party, Tuscan bread soup offers a taste of Italy’s culinary tradition at its finest. With the right accompaniments, it becomes a versatile dish that can adapt to any occasion and delight the senses with its comforting flavors.


Leave a Comment