Tuscan bread soup (Pappa al Pomodoro) is a traditional Italian recipe made with tomatoes and stale bread, that is as simple as it is delicious! I first had this amazing dish while on a wine tour in the Chianti region of Italy a couple years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite easy meals!
Tuscan bread soup is often served in the summer as a light, fresh meal that celebrates summer tomatoes. But it's equally delicious in the winter months for when you're craving something warm and cozy!
Simple Italian cooking only requires a few staple ingredients to impart most of the flavor in a dish. For that reason, using high quality ingredients is super important. The main components of Tuscan bread soup are San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and stale bread. I add in a few extras, but they're all optional!
- Stale Bread - Tuscan bread soup is made using leftover stale Tuscan bread. But any good rustic style loaf will do! Stale bread is best but you can use fresh bread and dry it out in the oven first. Tear into cubes and toast for 10-15 minutes at 325°F.
- San Marzano Tomatoes - I always use San Marzano tomatoes which can be a bit pricier than other canned tomatoes. Pro tip: they are always cheaper at Trader Joe’s! Cento is a fantastic brand that I always use but you can substitute with whatever you prefer. However, using high quality tomatoes is what gives you that amazing flavor that needs very little added to it.
- Dry Red Wine - This is optional, but a splash of dry red wine adds extra flavor to this already flavorful soup!
- Vegetable Stock - I always use homemade vegetable stock because that's what I have on hand. But you can also use store-bought vegetable stock or chicken stock! Just note, if using store-bought stock you may need to reduce the salt content of the soup.
- Tomato Paste - The tomato paste is optional but adds an extra depth of flavor beyond the canned tomatoes.
- Olive Oil - You want to use good, high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor!
- Shallot & Garlic - Traditionally you only use garlic in pappa al pomodoro, but I love adding in a shallot as well.
- Parmesan Rinds - Also optional, but adding some leftover parmesan rinds to soup adds some savory, umami flavor and mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes a bit.
- Fresh Herbs - I love using fresh basil and thyme to top this soup!
- Red Pepper Flakes - I love adding just a little red pepper for some heat, but you can leave it out if desired.
How to Make Tuscan Bread Soup
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until translucent and aromatic. Add in the salt, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom.
Add in the tomatoes and lightly crush them (I just use my hands), then pour in the vegetable stock and stir to combine everything. Add in the parmesan rinds and bring the soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally so that the parmesan doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Once the soup begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and add in the bread. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bread is completely softened and the soup has thickened to a porridge like consistency.
Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and top with fresh thyme and basil.
Ladle the Tuscan bread soup into bowls and serve immediately.
Tuscan bread soup is best eaten immediately. But it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Absolutely! Flavorful, fresh summer tomatoes are delicious in this soup! I just like using canned tomatoes so that I can make this Tuscan bread soup all year long.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
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Tuscan Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 28 ounces San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable stock, substitute water
- 2 leftover parmesan rinds, optional
- 2 cups stale sourdough bread, cubed (any good rustic bread will work)
- fresh thyme
- fresh basil
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until translucent and aromatic. Add in the salt, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom.
- Add in the tomatoes and lightly crush them (I just use my hands), then pour in the vegetable stock and stir to combine everything. Add in the parmesan rinds and bring the soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally so that the parmesan doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the soup begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and add in the bread. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bread is completely softened and the soup has thickened to a porridge like consistency.
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and top with fresh thyme and basil.
- Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.