Pappa Al



Makes 6 first courses

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ clove garlic, sliced

  • 8 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut into medium dice

  • Salt

  • 24 basil leaves, left whole

  • Black pepper and crushed red

        pepper flakes

  • 10 1-inch cubes day-old Tuscan bread (should be very, very dry)

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) best quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling over soup

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)



  • Heat the olive oil and sliced garlic together in a large sauce pot over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown.

  • Add the tomatoes.

  • Add a large pinch of salt (to help the tomatoes release their juices) and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until the tomatoes start to fall apart.

  • Add basil leaves, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are broken up, but have not dissolved completely, 3 to 5 more minutes.

  • Taste, and add more salt, pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes, if needed.

  • Remove from heat, add the dried bread cubes, and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

  • Stir the soup with a wooden spoon to break the bread up slightly.

  • Adjust seasoning again, if needed. The pappa should be slightly thick — not quite as dense as oatmeal, but not brothy either. 

  • This soup is best served warm, not piping hot.

  • Portion the soup into six bowls, drizzle the remaining olive oil (the really good stuff) on top, and serve.

  • A sprinkling of Parmigiano is optional— I like to add it to this soup, but some Florentines would say no cheese.