As we saw in many other recipes, like panzanella, bruschetta, ribollita and now pappa al pomodoro in tuscan cuisine the use of unsalted and/or stale bread is very common. This bread is combined to other simple ingredients that are very much appreciated, such as extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes (two qualities, fiorentino and costoluto). These simple ingredients make up a the basis for many recipes yet there is one condition, these few ingredients must be of excellent quality and TUSCAN. Once you get the basic ingredients of excellent quality you will find that every tuscan family has its own recipe. Here’s mine!
- 500g (1lb 2 oz) of 2 day old tuscan bread
- olive oil for the sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1kg (2lb 4oz) ripe tomatoes, skinned and cut into chunks
- 1 small dried red chilli
- 12 large basil leaves torn
- extra virgin olive oil to top
Slice the bread and cut into slices. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan large enough to eventually contain all the ingredients. Add the garlic and when it begins to sizzle add the chili and after a couple of minutes the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 15 minutes and when the tomatoes have melted into a sauce add the bread and stir, and lower the heat.
Simmer until the consistency is that of a thick stew.
Check the seasoning and add the basil leaves, before finishing your preparation. When you serve the Pappa al Pomodoro, you will add fresh basil leaves, not torn in this case, and extra virgin olive oil.