Pappa al pomodoro is a traditional soup from Tuscany, as delicious as simple in the making, it is basically a practical dish as it was born as a way to use up stale bread and slightly over-ripe tomatoes so that nothing would be wasted.

“Pappa” is the Italian word for “mush” so it wouldn’t sound so appealing, but trust me, it is lovely! What was originally made as a “poor” dish for farmers is now one of the best sellers in upscale restaurants all over Florence!

In case you don’t have any stale bread you can just quickly bake some in a baking sheet (350 degrees for 10 mins should be enough) to dry it out.

Use some hearty whole-grain bread to give extra texture and flavour to the soup, it can be enjoyed for a light lunch or dinner together with a nice green salad.

Serves 4



  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups meat broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cubed stale bread
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste


  • Heat the olive oil in a deep pot
  • gently sauté the garlic for just a couple of minutes.
  • switch to medium heat, add the tomatoes and basil, keep cooking for 10 minutes
  • Add the meat stock (both chicken or beef may are ok), then season with some salt and pepper according to your taste
  • add the bread and cook, stir gently, until the soup comes to a simmer
  • Cover the pot and simmer for at least 40 minutes.
  • simmer for 5 more minutes uncovering the pot
  • pour abundant portions into bowls.
  • Upon serving you can also drizzle a little fresh olive oil over the soup, grind a little more black pepper for extra flavour, and grate some parmesan too.