While most of us associate sun-ripened tomatoes with warm, summer days, I think they are best enjoyed in September. Pappa al Pomodoro, a Tuscan peasant soup made traditionally with tomatoes and stale bread, is a perfect meal for a cooler night. Part of my tomatoes and bread collection, I use croutons in place of stale bread, simmered with a double batch of Simple Tomato Salad. I love to finish it with a few cracks of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Warning: This soup might make you want to bust out this season’s first bottle of red wine.
Pappa al Pomodoro
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 batches Simple Tomato Salad (total of 4 pounds tomatoes)
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add Simple Tomato Salad and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring the tomatoes until they have broken down. Add Simple Croutons, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 5 minutes, mashing the bread with a wooden spoon. Taste for seasoning and adjust how you see fit.
Serve soup hot in shallow bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil leaves.