Looking for a way to use up leftover bread? This time of year, pappa al pomodoro is the best answer. I prefer to make the Italian tomato-bread soup with slow-roasted tomatoes because it intensifies the sweetness of the tomatoes and gives the soup a rich depth of flavor. If you don’t have stale bread lying around, you can use lightly toasted fresh cubed bread.


  • 5 lbs. mixed red tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle for garnish
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 10 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Leaves from one 6-inch stem of tarragon
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 ounces Pernod
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 64 ounces chicken stock
  • 4 cups cubed stale Italian bread


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Place the mixed tomatoes in a bowl and coat with half the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour the tomatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 90 minutes. Place a large soup pot over medium heat.
3. Add the remaining oil, the herbs, the garlic and the onion. Sweat until onions begin to color. Add the Pernod. When almost evaporated add the roasted tomatoes, the tomato puree and the chicken stock.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat to maintain simmer and cook slowly for one hour. Add the bread cubes and continue to cook at a simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently until a rich consistency is achieved and the tomatoes begin to release their sugars.
5. Season and serve, topping individual bowls with additional basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.


If toasting non-stale bread to stalify it, there's plenty of time to do that while the soup simmers for an hour.


Andrew Zimmern


6 servings




European : Mediterranean : Italian