Pappa Al Pomodoro / Classic Italian Tomato Soup

"This is a classic Italian tomato soup that uses ciabatta bread to thicken it. Unlike other recipes posted here, this soup is made with red wine & fennel, then at serving it is topped with pancetta and whole crispy basil leaves. The flavor is amazing! The recipe comes from the chef of a cooking class I had the pleasure to take. I am not sure what cookbook this may have come from. 4/12 Correction: recipe of Ina Garten (thanks Jekase!)"
photo by Chicagoland Chef du Jour photo by Chicagoland Chef du Jour
photo by Chicagoland Chef du Jour
Ready In:
1hr 45mins




  • Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 T salt, and 1 1/2 t pepper.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes.
  • MEANWHILE: Preheat oven to 375°F.

  • In a large bowl, put the reserved ciabatta bread cubes, pancetta and whole basil leaves in the bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
  • On a lined sheet pan large enough for all ingredients, place the ingredients in a single layer, Be sure the basil leaves are flat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake until the cubes are toasted, pancetta crispy and basil leaves turn dark & crisp. This may take 15-20 minutes.
  • Check on your soup. If the soup is too lumpy for you you can smash with a wooden spoon, potato masher or use a submersion blender to break up the bread cubes. Alternately you can puree in batches in a food processor or blender. Blend to desired consistency. I prefer a more rustic presentation.
  • *Take care to only fill the blender or food processor 1/3 when you puree HOT soup.
  • Turn up the heat to rewarm if necessary. At this point check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Stir in parmesan cheese, top with basil leaf, pancetta and bread cubes.
  • Freezes well.

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  1. The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network made this recipe recently. I then prepared it at home and, I agree; it is fantastic. Thanks for posting.
  2. Yummmmm. Made this just the way it's written, just simmered it a bit longer. A great soup & it freezes well. The flavors are fantastic.


Hi there! Originally CHICAGOLAND CHEF DU JOUR, I like to think of myself as a fantastic home cook with a flair for the gourmet. I have gotten & shared many recipes since I became a member in 2007. Although I have not been active in a few years, I still return to look for recipes from some of my fave chefs. Thanks to all you have helped me over the years and thanks a bunch to any and all reviews.
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