If you love the taste of pappa al pomodoro, try this variation
eight 1 1/2-thick slices of Italian bread (about 3 inches in diameter)
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes (about 9 tomatoes), peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
top-quality Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1. Grill or toast the bread slices, and while they are still hot, rub them with garlic halves and brush with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside at room temperature.
2. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in large saucepan over moderately low heat. Stir in garlic halves from rubbing bread, shallots, and basil leaves. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the mixture rest until it comes to room temperature.
3. Cut or rip each slice of grilled bread into 6 chunks. Add bread to soup, mix, then immediately divide among 4 soup bowls. Serve. Pass Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling.
Here's something completely new under the sun -- inspired by the American aversion to mushy textures. If you love the taste of pappa al pomodoro, but don't love its porridge-like quality, try this variation, which mixes cubes of grilled bread with the tomatoes. It's loaded with texture, and just as delicious as the original -- maybe more, because the bruschetta adds a great grill flavor. Serves 4