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Horizontal image of two white bowls filled with a hearty stew topped with shaved cheese and fresh herbs.

Italian Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Pappa al pomodoro is an Italian tomato and bread soup, made by cooking together simple ingredients to yield a soft and slurp-worthy texture.


  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns, plus more to taste
  • 4 ounces stale or lightly toasted rustic bread (about 1/4 loaf or 45 slices), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil, plus more leaves for serving
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat on the stovetop. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  2. Cut shallow X-shaped slits through the skin on the bottom of each plum tomato with a sharp paring knife.
  3. Using a large slotted spoon, carefully submerge the tomatoes into the boiling water. Blanch for about 1 minute. With the same slotted spoon, immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard the core from each tomato. Peel off and discard the skin. Quarter each tomato, saving any juice and seeds.
  5. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and gently warm until aromatic for 1-2 minutes without browning, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the tomatoes, seeds, and juice to the pot, and raise the heat to medium. Cook the tomatoes for 10-15 minutes, stirring and crushing occasionally with a sturdy spoon or spatula, until most of the juices have been released and the liquid is slightly thickened. Add the salt and black pepper and briefly stir again.
  7. Add the bread cubes and stir constantly until the bread absorbs some of the liquid, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the vegetable stock and basil. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue simmering until the liquid slightly reduces and the bread is completely soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add more stock as needed if the mixture is too thick – it should have the consistency of a thick soup.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper before dividing the soup among bowls and garnishing with shaved cheese and basil leaves. Serve warm.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Italian, tomato, bread, soup, pappa al pomodoro