pappa al pomodoro

In Italy, pappa al pomodoro is the ultimate "poor man's food." Tomato and bread soup with lots of fresh basil -- simplicity never tasted so good.

pappa al pomodoro
serves 4

about 2 C stale bread, cut into cubes
1/2 teas (or as much or little as you can handle) dried red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine
fresh tomatoes, (or if it's winter time, you can get away with using 2 14-oz cans of diced tomatoes)
4 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
6 C low sodium chicken stock

In a large saucepan, over med-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the dried red pepper flakes and cubed bread. Cook, stirring occasionally until the bread is golden. Transfer bread to a plate lined with a paper towel; set aside.

Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and saute the onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook until you can smell 'em (usually less than a minute). Next, add the tomatoes, basil, and prepared bread. Stir to combine and heat to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Add the broth (best if it's already hot) and mix well. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flavours have had the chance to blend. Mash the tomatoes and bread together with a fork . Season with pepper and more salt if necessary -- I find that the stock makes the soup plenty salty. Buon appetito!

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