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Pappa al Pomodoro

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Big Kids Plate

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Why we love it:

This is one of the very few recipes we’d consider buying tomatoes out of season for because of the way they cook down to the correct texture for this soup. You can use canned tomatoes but it might be too watery if you aren’t careful. This is a classic, ages old Italian “use up your stale bread” recipe and it’s stood the test of time for a reason!


  • 1 pound Crusty Bread (day old or even stale is preferred)
  • 112 pounds Roma Tomato (or on-the-vine, whatever looks ripe)
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 14 teaspoon White Sugar
  • 14 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (possibly more to taste)
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly cracked)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Basil (optional or use dried)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. BREAD

    Dice into 2” cubes. Remove some sections of really burnt or dense crusts but you can leave much of it on. If it’s too stale to cut, douse it with water, like a sponge first.

  • 2. SAUTÉ

    Dice the tomatoes, set aside in a bowl. Dice the onion into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Add both to a heavy pot with the olive oil and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and occasionally while cooking for 10 minutes to reduce the tomatoes

  • 3. WATER

    Add the bread cubes and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes and use a wooden spoon to mash up the bread cubes. The soup will become thick, like the consistency of oatmeal. Add basil or herbs, if using, taste to make sure there’s enough salt and pepper.

  • 4. SERVING

    Serve in a shallow bowl, drizzle with good quality olive oil, more basil, or even cheese or a knob of butter, if desired.

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    same process with your favorite, quality gluten free bread
    if you use a can of tomatoes, use whole peeled tomatoes with the juices and reduce about 1 cup of water

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Serve a portion that is really well mashed - the chewy crust could be challenging or too unique for some palettes
  • Alternatively, remove some of the “tomato soup” before adding the bread. Mash it or puree it (possibly with a splash of milk or cream) and them serve with a grilled cheese on the side

For Toddlers

  • You can mash or run a knife though any really chunky, tough bits of bread
  • This is a great texture and meal for a toddler
  • Add veggies or fruit, or cheese

For Choosy Eaters

  • My kids won’t currently do tomato sauce products (much to my dismay). If yours are the same, I’d serve grilled cheese, fruit and veggies. And a small side cup of particular smooth soup (I’d puree it in my bullet blender with a splash of cream) for dipping the sandwich and tasting a new thing.

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. While you can make this ahead, the bread texture is best as soon as it’s done cooking. Reheat with more water if needed
  2. Let your bread go stale for a few days to prep
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