Recipe: Pappa al Pomodoro from Giada De Laurentiis

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Aubrie Pick)

Around the World in 30 Soups: This month we’re collaborating with chefs, cookbook authors, and our own Kitchn crew to share a globetrotting adventure in soups from countries and cuisines around the world. Today’s stop: Italy.

Where to even start with Italian soups? So many fabulous soups, and so many voices to speak about them. Until we get a chance to do Around Italy in 30 Soups (please, dream with us!) we settled on this Tuscan classic from television star and cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis.

When I was growing up, if my mom was in a pinch to get dinner on the table fast, pappa al pomodoro — or Tuscan bread soup with plenty of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil — was her go-to. We always had stale bread to use up, which gives the soup both extra body and a soft, almost silky texture. It’s a tasty and hearty lunch that also makes a good weeknight meal.

Giada De Laurentiis, television host, restauranteur, and author of Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita

Pappa al Pomodoro

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 4 ounces

    pancetta, diced

  • 1

    small red onion, peeled

  • 1

    carrot, peeled and halved

  • 2

    garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans

    crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus up to 1 cup more, if needed

  • 4 cups

    (1-inch) stale bread cubes (about 2 thick slices)

  • 2

    fresh basil sprigs

  • 1

    (2-inch) piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind

  • 1 1/4 cups

    freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 3 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped basil, for garnish


  1. Heat a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta to the pot, and cook until brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan with the drippings. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the salt, tomatoes, chicken broth, and bread, and stir to combine. Nestle the basil sprigs and cheese rind in the mixture and bring to a simmer.

  2. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle bubble. Stir in the drained pancetta. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring often to help break apart the bread and prevent the Parm rind from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add up to an extra cup of broth, as needed, if the soup gets too thick. Remove and discard the onion, carrot, and cheese rind. Stir in 1 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

  3. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and the chopped basil.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted from Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita. Copyright © 2018 by GDL Foods Inc. Photographs copyright © 2018 Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Clarkson Potter)

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