Pappa al Pomodoro

This famously soupy dish, thickened with bread instead of pasta, is much like a pasta course-- deeply satisfying and a great way to begin a meal. It's a good excuse to use your best extra-virgin olive oil, which should be drizzled on right before serving. A Tip: The best way to "chop" canned tomatoes is to use scissors to snip them right in the can.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
28-ounce can plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 ounces baguette, cut into small pieces, about 5 packed cups
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Large pinch hot-pepper flakes
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot. Add the garlic and cook until soft but not brown, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes over high heat. Add the bread and cook 8 minutes, mashing with a potato masher until all the ingredients are integrated and the bread is very soft. Add the basil, pepper flakes and salt. Cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with additional oil. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Serves 4


Recipe courtesy of Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease. ©2010 by Rozanne Gold. All rights reserved. Published by Rodale Books.