Sunday, December 5, 2021

My Favorite Pappa Al Pomidoro Soup (And Fried Basil Croutons) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Back to a no soup making week, this week. It was a great day for it, rainy and cool but I was busy and slightly under the weather with asthma. That made me think about this Ina Garten Papa Al Pomidoro Soup that I first made back in 2008 over Christmas Weekend when I was too sick to go to Oregon. Excuse the early days pictures. 

I ate meat on the regular at the time and the topping of ciabatta, fresh basil, and pancetta but I have made the topping again, several times since, with the bread and basil. It's the best part of the soup. Here it is on Creamy Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Fried Basil Croutons from Christmas Eve 2017. 

Pappa Al Pomidoro
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina Garten
(1/2 Recipe Below Makes 6 Servings) 

1/2 cup good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
For the topping:
3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes. Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the topping, place the ciabatta cubes, pancetta, and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine. Reheat the soup, if necessary, beat with a wire whisk until the bread is broken up. Stir in the Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve hot sprinkled with the topping and drizzled with additional olive oil.

What I said about it then: 

Notes/Results:  This makes a lot of soup--Ina says it serves 6 and as usual, they would be "ginormous" servings.  I made a half batch, which was at least six, decent-sized servings, but I ate it all the past few days and actually wish I had more. Don't omit the topping--if you don't do meat, still bake the basil and ciabatta cubes and then grate some Parmesan over it when you serve.  This soup is delicious and I will make it again. Thanks Natalie for a great recipe pick!  Since it's Christmas, the Barefoot Bloggers have until 12/31 to post this recipe and you can check out their results here.

Linking this Ina soup up to I Heart Cooking Clubs November Potluck:

Now let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here:

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shares Mediterranean Tomato and Red Onion Salad, saying, "Tomato and red onion salad is simple to prepare yet makes a lovely presentation and is very delicious. It's made of a few ingredients and can be thrown together quickly. With all the rich heavy food for the holidays, why not serve some healthy low calorie salads as well."

Radha of The Magical Ingredients for a Wholesome Life from the Heart of My Home brought Roasted Cauliflower Soup and says, "This is a simple, creamy, and delicious soup made with roasted cauliflower. A piping hot bowl of this soup is a perfect one as the temperature dips. For a vegan version, add coconut milk. Serve with a crusty bread or garlic bread."

Finally Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brings Dal Makhani from the local Indian shop, saying, "The Indian market always has interesting fare on their shelves.  They also have the best fresh green beans and lots of other fresh produce.  Pity it's located so far from our home so we don't go often.  I'm loving this prepackaged Dal Makhani for lunches."

Thank you Tina, Judee, and Radha for joining me this week! 

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
  • Although we are pretty wide on what defines a soup, sandwich or salad, entries that are clearly not in the same family (ie: desserts, meats, random main or side dishes that aren't salads, etc.) are meant for another round up and will be deleted. 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to ente
Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Deb,
    I love any kind of tomato based soup. This one looks delicious. Thanks for hosting Souper Sunday- I always enjoy it.

  2. Love this delicious soup. Ciabatta abd bsail sound like heaven. I am bookmarking it to try sometime.

  3. I hope your asthma is under control now and you ae feeling better. That sucks :-( The soup looks great and I have been enjoying revisiting some Ina recipes lately.
    Take care, my friend! I brought you grilled cheese this week.


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