This Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro with Roast Peppers and Thyme is a twist on the traditional Tuscan tomato and bread soup made with ripe tomatoes, basil and bread. This version is enhanced with sweet roasted red peppers, garlic and thyme slow roasted together and combined in a thick, full bodied soup.
To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be making any more soups this year. It’s Spring for goodness sake but our lady nature is a fickle pickle and we have been chased back inside by a constant deluge for almost a week. The little cherry blossoms, our harbingers of Spring, brave enough to peek out from their place of hibernation have been unceremoniously donked on the head by fat drops of rain in to a graceful wilt.
Thankfully, somewhere in this fair country of ours it must be warm because I found wonderful, plump vine-ripened tomatoes at our produce store. If you can’t beat the rain you might as well watch it fall from the safety of your window seat with a bowl of thick Tuscan Pappa Al Pomodoro with Roast Peppers and Thyme. This wonderful soup can be eaten warm or chilled like gazpacho; either way it is a simple recipe loaded with tonnes of sweet roast tomato and pepper flavours laced with fresh basil and thyme.
Technically this Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro with Roast Peppers and Thyme is a porridge rather than a soup with the word “pappa” meaning “mush” or “baby food”. I imagine presenting a bowl of tomato mush or porridge might be a hard sell even at the most adventurous of dinner tables. While I love the thickness of the traditional soup, I have thinned it out here for the benefit of small picky eaters within this house whom shall not be named. For those wanting the true “mush” experience reduce the stock to 3/4 (750ml) litre rather than 1 (1000ml) litre.
Like many traditional dishes , there are as many recipe variations of this soup as there are houses in the region of origin. However, some things are sacred and ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and stale Tuscan bread hold that cherished place here. I am a hedonist so I added slow roasted peppers and thyme for good measure. To my happy tastebuds the roasted pepper cuts through the pure tomato flavour while the thyme, roasted with the tomatoes, compliments it. Simple, full-bodied and bursting with vibrant flavours, this Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro with Roast Peppers and Thyme is made all the better with fresh, quality ingredients. The deliciousness is in the detail. Enjoy, x.
Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro with Roast Peppers and Thyme
- 2 kg vine-ripened tomatoes
- 2 medium red peppers capsicum
- 1 head garlic
- Around 120 grams stale white bread I used ciabatta
- 1000 ml vegetable stock or 750ml for a thicker soup
- 10 fresh basil leaves plus 4 more
- a small handful of fresh thyme
- sea salt
- 1 tablespoon 15ml red wine vinegar
- chilli flakes optional
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a large baking pan.
- Slice the peppers in half and de-seed and de-vein. Place in the pan.
- Add the head of garlic to the pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, add thyme and roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
- Twenty minutes before the vegetables are ready, tear the ciabatta bread in to palm-sized pieces and place on a small baking tray. Add to the oven and toast for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove everything from the oven.
- In a large soup pot, add the tomatoes, peppers, thyme, stock and the softened insides of the roast garlic.
- Add the 10 basil leaves and most of the toasted bread leaving aside some for garnish.
- Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the remaining basil leaves, the red wine vinegar and blend with a stick blender to desired texture. Alternatively pulse in a food processor.
- Taste and season with sea salt and add optional chilli flakes.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a small chunk of toasted bread