Pappa al Pomodoro is a seriously hearty (you can eat it with a fork) and flavorful Tuscan soup, made with tomatoes and bread. This soup has all the characteristics of Tuscan cooking: simple and genuine. This quintessential Florentine dish stands as testament of the modest cooking style of my native area where low-cost ingredients were assembled with ingenious creativity. The preparation of every dish was dictated not by rushing the cooking process but from a careful selection and compounding of the ingredients.
Typically, Pappa al Pomodoro is made during summer months, when the unique scent of sweet ripe tomatoes fills the air. The bread should be white, hardened, at least a day old and for best results not baked with oil or butter. Bread is also a main ingredient in other rediscovered Tuscan peasant dishes like Ribollita and Panzanella. Florence is the only city in Italy where bread is made without salt; even the absence of salt in bread is testimony to the simplicity that characterizes the cuisine of my area. Like many other Tuscan foods the “pappa” is not an eye-candy dish, but you’ll notice its proximity by the unmistakable sweet fragrance that emanates.
Fun fact: in 1964 this dish got a big push in notoriety throughout Italy thanks to the song “Viva La Pappa Al Pomodoro” from a TV show inspired from an old Florentine childrens book. Click here to see that hysterical prehistoric Italian video.