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La Belle Cuisine - More Soup Recipes

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Summer Basil and Tomato Bread Soup




"A first rate soup is better than a second rate painting."
~ Abraham Maslow

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Basil, Cheese, Tomatoes and Olive Oil
Basil, Cheese, Tomatoes
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Still Life with Tomatoes and Flowering Basil in a Vase
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Summer Basil and Tomato Bread Soup
(Pappa al Pomodoro)

Splendid Soups:
Recipes and Master Techniques
for Making the World's Best Soups

by James Peterson, 2000 (Revised), John Wiley & Sons
(Recipe from our 1993 1st edition)

“There are many versions of this Italian soup, all with varying proportions
of tomatoes, bread, and broth. Once you start adding a lot of bread, it’s
hard to tell what it is – soup, casserole, or salad. Like all soups that rely
on tomatoes for most of their character and flavor, I make this dish only
in summer. You can serve this soup either hot or cold.”

Makes 6 servings

12  1-inch-thick slices of French or Italian
baguette, preferably slightly stale
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded,
and very coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth or water
about 40 basil leaves, shredded (chiffonade)
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

If the bread is fresh and still soft, toast it on both sides under the
broiler. Cut the bread slices in half into semicircles. In a mixing
bowl, toss the bread in half the olive oil.
Combine the bread, tomatoes, and broth in a 4-quart pot. If you’re
serving the soup cold, stir in the rest of the ingredients, let sit in the
refrigerator for an hour, and serve in cold bowls.
If you’re serving the soup hot, bring it to a simmer, then stir in the
remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and serve
immediately in hot bowls.

Suggestions and Variations:
Authentic versions of pappa al pomodoro never seem to suggest it,
but I like to serve freshly grated Parmesan at the table for friends to
sprinkle on the soup. I also sometimes just combine all the ingredients
cold, toss in twice as much basil, and serve this “soup” chilled.
Another trick is to leave the bread in slices and layer [the ingredients], sprinkle the whole thing with cheese and olive oil and bake it.

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