Pappa al Pomodoro
8 whole garlic cloves
1-3/4 pound can of plum tomatoes
1 pound loaf of stale bread, sliced (or unseasoned stuffing mix)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced, only white part
6 cups water
1 bunch basil
The night before slice the bread and leave it out to get stale. (This does
happen in Tuscany with our unsalted bread.) You can force the drying in a warm oven.
Sauté the whole garlic cloves and leek in olive oil with the chili pepper.
When the garlic has lightly browned and the leek is just getting golden, add
the tomato sauce. Season with salt. Add half the basil leaves torn into tiny pieces. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and stir.
Cook until the tomatoes fall apart.
Tear the bread into small pieces and put into the sauce. The bread will soak up the sauce and get quite thick. Add enough water to soften the bread and to make it liquidy. Add the remaining basil and cook until the bread becomes a "mush"-- PAPPA!
Enjoy this thick stew-like soup on a cold day with a drizzle of extra virgin
oil on top. I like to reheat it the next day by sauteing some sliced garlic and more chili in oil and then reheating. This gives it an extra kick!