Pappa al Pomodoro – Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Humble pappa al pomodoro is one of the most delicious dishes of the Tuscan tradition, perhaps one of the best of the entire repertoire of Italian cuisine, in my opinion. Similarly to panzanella, it is a very simple, peasant dish, created to reuse leftover stale bread, but in its simplicity, it is truly exceptional.

Pappa al pomodoro

You must be aware by now that I have a weakness for dishes that recycle leftover bread, since on this blog we have already collected several. Pappa al pomodoro couldn’t be left out of that ever-growing list, because it surely is one of the smartest ways I know to use an old loaf of stale bread that has sat on the counter too long.

Pappa al pomodoro makes a meal that is fit for every season: it is excellent in winter as a hot soup, particularly if you keep it a bit runny, and perfectly irresistible in warmer weather if served cold or at room temperature. Also, thanks to the simplicity of its ingredients and the creamy texture it has, I find kids enjoy it as much as adults, which is a plus.

I prepared this tomato soup for my vegetarian cooking column on the recipe website of Pomì, a staple brand of Italian canned tomatoes. If you do not follow it yet, I suggest you do: every month I publish a couple of new vegetarian recipes that you might find useful to bring into your day those legendary five portions of fruit and vegetables per day that we should eat for a balanced diet.

Pappa al pomodoro

Pappa al pomodoro (traditional Tuscan tomato and bread soup)

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Primo
Cuisine Italiana
Servings 4


  • 300 g stale Tuscan bread
  • 800 g rustic-style tomato puree or freshly blanched and peeled tomatoes, pulp only
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 celery rib
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • water or broth
  • 1 spring of basil
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste


  • Cut the stale bread into slices a few centimeters thick; if the bread is not dry enough, toast it in the oven at 400°F as you would for a bruschetta.
    300 g stale Tuscan bread
  • Put the slices of bread to soak in plenty of water or broth to soften them.
    water or broth
  • Separately, prepare finely minced celery, carrot, garlic, and onion, and sauté in a few tablespoons of olive oil, until all the vegetables are tender.
    1/2 carrot, 1/2 celery rib, 1/2 onion, 1 garlic clove, extra-virgin olive oil
  • Add the rustic-style tomato puree to the sautéed vegetables, and let it simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
    800 g rustic-style tomato puree or freshly blanched and peeled tomatoes, pulp only
  • Squeeze the bread and crumble it in the tomato puree, stirring well to allow it to soak in the flavor. If you prefer your pappa al pomodoro a little more liquid, add water or broth until you get the desired consistency.
  • Adjust the salt and pepper of the pappa al pomodoro, then add a few leaves of basil, and a drizzle of raw olive oil.
    1 spring of basil, salt to taste, pepper to taste
  • Let the tomato soup rest for half an hour, then serve it hot, putting it back in a saucepan over low heat for a few minutes, or at room temperature.
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