Top | Soups

Pappa al pomodoro

(recipe, Katie Hickey)


So. Good. Mike and I reheat leftovers (thickened) in a skillet and break and egg in there to cook. Awesome.


  1. One #10 can peeled san Marzano tomatoes (worth it here), crushed by hand, cores removed
  2. Olive Oil, as needed
  3. 1½ loaves ciabatta, crusts peeled off (at least bottom crust), torn into 2-inch chunks, very, very stale
  4. 1 half a head of garlic, cloves sliced thinly
  5. ½ Tbsp. fennel seeds
  6. ½ Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  7. 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
  8. 2 to 3 qt. of vegetable or chicken stock (or to taste)
  9. salt and pepper
  10. torn fresh basil (optional- but try to use it)
  11. parmesan rind (optional)
  12. some prosciutto (optional)
  13. mussels (optional)


  1. Heat a big ass pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the garlic, and cook until it gets fragrant and starts to color. Add the fennel seed, chili, and jalapeno and cook for a few seconds more.
  2. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, and parm rind if you’re using one and bring to a boil. Knock the heat back to a simmer, and let it cook for a half hour or so to pull out some of the acid. Stir.
  3. Add your bread. This shit better be S.T.A.L.E. It picks up better flavor, and if it’s not stale it reverts by some clever means of punishing you to big ass knots of raw dough. It’s tough and gnarly and gross. So let it get stale. If you need to, dry it out in a low oven. Rather have a bit of color on the bread than moisture in it.
  4. Let the bread soak up some tomato, then start adding your stock. It’ll need a lot. And it’ll keep needing more. Start with a 2 quarts then see what happens. Reseason. Stir. A lot. The bread will burn on the bottom if you’re not careful and your soup will be bitter and the children will cry and it’ll be terrible. So stir. Bring it up to a simmer, let the bread get really hydrated, and let the flavors gush around with each other, add more stock if you want.
  5. The soup is basically done. You can let it ride as is, or you can throw a couple of pounds of mussels in and let them cook in the soup. Microplane a lemon or two in there, it’s brilliant. Before you serve it, toss in a bunch of basil, stir through, and that’s it. Ladle it out, Parm it up, chop in prosciutto, slivered cerignola olives, whatever. It’s good.