Have you ever heard of Pappa al Pomodoro? If you are looking for traditional Tuscan recipes, you must know it. In fact, it is one of the dishes most characteristic of Tuscany’s past: it is a simple recipe but at the same time part of the history of regional cuisine.
The history of Pappa al Pomodoro, as is often the case with traditional dishes, is difficult to find. The first person to talk about it was the florentine Luigi Bertelli in a book called “Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca” in 1907, but it is very likely that its origins go back much further.
The key ingredient of “Pappa al Pomodoro,” as the name implies, is of course the tomato. Looking back at the history of this ingredient, it is important to remember that it was not until the 1700s and 1800s that it began to be used in kitchens. In fact, in the mid-1500s, when it was imported from America, it was considered toxic. Consequently, it is possible to think that the origin of this fruit is much further back than in the 20th century.
It is in fact, like several other traditional Tuscan recipes, a dish characterized by the use of leftover food, starting with old bread that is now hard to eat normally. For this reason, too, when describing Pappa al Pomodoro, it is referred to as a dish of “humble” origin, but one that has attracted the rapid attention of restaurants and kitchens throughout Italy over the years.
In 1965, Rita Pavone, an Italian singer, actress, and showgirl – more than 50 million records worldwide -dedicated a song, which has become very famous to this dish to this day, called “Viva la pappa col pomodoro,” which was created as the theme song for the TV script of the very aforementioned “Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca,” based on the children’s novel by Luigi Bertelli and directed by Lina Wertmüller.
Tuscan “Pappa al Pomodoro” Traditional Recipe
As mentioned above, preparing Pappa al Pomodoro is very simple, but it is nevertheless necessary to use the right ingredients.
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Pappa al Pomodoro
- 1 kg Ripe Tomatoes
- 1.5 L Vegetable Broth
- 350 g Tuscan Bread
- 3-4 Cloves of Garlic
- 100 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- The first thing to do is to prepare the tomatoes properly. Once cut they should be put to cook over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic until they become soft (about 20 minutes, add salt). After that, they should be blended or pureed with the vegetable mill. Also, we can start heating the broth, using onion, carrot, and celery.
- Next we need to move on to the Tuscan bread. We simply need to cut it into slices and wet it with water.
- Now, inside a nonstick saucepan or a casserole, you can put the bread together with the tomato passata and vegetable broth, making sure that the bread is covered.
- Let everything cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is almost gone. The advice is to toss it occasionally while cooking and before the end add the basil leaves.
Focus on: Tuscan bread
As highlighted in the article, utilizing the right ingredients is crucial in recreating the authentic Pappa al Pomodoro recipe. However, obtaining Tuscan bread outside of Tuscany can be a challenge due to its distinct preparation and flavor, which is derived from the lack of salt. For more information on the history and unique features of this bread, we suggest referring to LaCucinaItaliana’s informative article.
Thank you for reading. We collect a lot of different traditional recipes from Tuscan cuisine. If you want to get inspired, feel free to navigate into our “food” section.