Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup)



Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup)

Bread, tomato, and water: 3 very simple ingredients for a first course of the Tuscan tradition that is absolutely delicious: tomato bread soup! Like panzanella, it's a perfect recipe for using up stale bread: it's made all year round with tomato passata or pulp, but it's also ideal for summer to be enjoyed warm or cold, using ripe tomatoes. This peasant-origin dish, of which we're sure every Tuscan family has its own version (some prepare the sauce first then add the bread, or some cook the bread from the beginning with the tomato), is always much appreciated by locals and tourists visiting beautiful Tuscany. It's incredible how so little can yield such a pleasant taste: it all lies in the choice of ingredients! Good bread, tomato, quality extra virgin olive oil, and a lot of fragrant basil!

Discover also other versions of the classic tomato bread soup:

If you love Tuscan cuisine, also try:

  • Peposo a unique second course
  • Gnudi a delicious first course
  • Pici all'aglione with the garlic typical of the Valdichiana area 
Canned tomatoes 1.7 pints (800 g)
Bread 10.5 oz (300 g) - homemade
Water to taste
Garlic 1 clove
Basil to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste

How to prepare Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup)

To prepare the Pappa al Pomodoro, in a saucepan gently heat the oil, peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices (if you don't like it, you can use it whole and unpeeled and remove it later). Fry lightly 1, then pour in the tomato pulp 2 and a bit of salt 3. Let it cook gently for a generous half hour.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into slices 4 and cut them in half 5. When the sauce is ready, dilute it with some water 6 (the amount of water can vary depending on the type of bread used).

Mix 7 and immerse the bread slices, breaking them up if necessary so as to fit them all in the pot 8. Press down lightly with the ladle 9.

Cover with a lid 10 and let it rest for about 15 minutes. After this time, the bread will be well softened and saturated with the sauce, add more water if necessary 11 and mix well 12. Put it back on the stove and let it cook gently for another 5 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached: the bread slices must completely disintegrate and create a "pulp".

Turn off the heat and adjust the salt 13, then finish with a generous drizzle of oil 14 and a few basil leaves 15.

Mix well and serve hot, warm, or cold, garnishing the dish with an additional drizzle of oil 17 and basil leaves 18!


The Pappa al Pomodoro can be stored in the fridge for 1 day. To revive it, add water or broth each time.

Freezing is not recommended.


The amount of water varies depending on the type of bread used: in this case, we used about 1.65 pounds. Instead of water, you can use vegetable broth if you have it available.

You can use fresh or several days old bread, only the capacity and speed of absorbing the sauce will change, but not the final result.

In the family, the tomato bread soup is often further seasoned with plenty of grated cheese.