Although I loved eating it a restaurants, when I first made Pappa al Pomodoro, I thought it was totally bizarre. It is, after all, basically a tomato-and-bread pudding. I tried to keep to the classic version, but ended up reducing the amount of bread by half simply because I prefer it that way; if you find my version not bready enough, double the bread. Unless you are already a fan, you might have to get over a certain queasiness to make this totally delicious but strange-sounding concoction.
Don’t use sourdough bread: Use Italian or French
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 cups fresh or canned diced tomatoes (about 10)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 slices stale Italian or French bread, cut into 1- inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the tomatoes, stock, and bread, and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to low and cook until the tomatoes are a deep orange red, and the bread begins to fall apart, about 15 minutes. Add the basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately garnished with basil or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.