Pappa al Pomodoro
This recipe for the classic Florentine bread soup should be reserved for tomatoes at the height of the season.
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks, white parts only
- 4 pounds ripe tomatoes (6 to 8 large)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 cloves garlic (2 teaspoons), finely chopped
- 2 1/2 cups cubed peasant bread, crust removed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 20 leaves fresh basil, torn into pieces
Wash leeks thoroughly and set aside. Scald tomatoes briefly in boiling water; let cool, then slip off skins with a knife. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise; seed by squeezing over a strainer set in a bowl to collect juice. Cut tomatoes into chunks; set tomatoes and juice aside.
In a small non-reactive stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add tomatoes and juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are somewhat broken down and very juicy, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add bread; cook, stirring and breaking up the bread with a wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let stand to come to room temperature. Just before serving, stir in the torn basil. Drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.