Ingredients for 4:
- 8-10 ounces stale, coarse Italian bread, cut into ½” thick slices
- 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (See Note)
- 5 cups stock – chicken or mushroom
- ½ cup (packed) basil leaves, torn into small pieces + a few extra leaves for decoration
- ¼ cup ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil + a little more for drizzling
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and (lots of) freshly ground pepper to taste (plus a few slices of fresh hot peppers or hot pepper flakes to taste)
Preheat the oven to 400F/200c. Place the bread on baking sheets and toast in the oven, turning once, until golden brown – about 10-12 minutes. When toasted, tear the bread into bite size and larger pieces and set aside.
In a large pot, cook the tomatoes over medium-low heat until they give off their juices, breaking up the pieces with the back of a spoon; this should take about 10 minutes. Then stir in the stock, basil, ¼ cup ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and garlic. Bring this to a boil over high heat. Gradually stir in the bread pieces. Then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring to break up the bread, until the soup is quite thick – again, about 10 minutes. If it is too thick, you can add a bit more stock or water.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual serving bowls. Drizzle a little ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the surface of each serving and garnish with a basil leaf, if you wish.
Papa al pomodoro can be served hot at this point, at room temperature, or re-heated and served later, when flavors have merged.
Note: If you prefer, you can chop and cook the tomatoes, unpeeled, then press them through a large sieve or a food mill to remove the peels and puree them. In a pinch or in the winter, you can use 2 14-16 ounce cans of best quality canned tomatoes.