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Pappa al pomodoro recipe

First courses

Pappa al pomodoro is the hallmark of traditional Tuscan home cooking given that it’s a dish that upcycles leftovers. The ingredient list is short and simple: stale Tuscan bread, canned peeled tomatoes, good extra virgin olive oil, salt, and chili pepper.

What makes pappa al pomodoro an ambassador for Tuscan cooking is its chameleon-like nature: the recipe varies from area to area, from family to family, sparking debate and disagreement: basil or sage? Just garlic or a mixture of finely minced vegetables such as carrot, celery, and onion? Water or vegetable stock? The following recipe originates from Chianti, blending the Sienese and Florentine tradition.

Pappa al pomodoro


  • 800 g peeled canned tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Dried chili pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of stale Tuscan bread
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • About 20 basil leaves
  • Salt


Follow these steps:

Soak the bread in cold water for about 10 minutes.

Cover the bottom of a pot with extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and dried chili pepper to taste. Add the crushed peeled tomatoes. Cook on low heat until the tomatoes begin to soften and come apart.

Squeeze the bread between your hands to remove all the excess water and crumble it into the tomato sauce. Add a cup of hot water.

Season with salt and cook over a low flame for about 10 minutes, stirring vigorously from time to time.

Turn off the heat, add the basil leaves and pour over more extra virgin olive oil.

Set aside for at least an hour, allowing the flavors to mix, then serve warm or at room temperature.