A twist on a traditional Italian soup: It's delicious

LARRY CROWE / Associated Press
LARRY CROWE / Associated Press
Posted: April 21, 2011

Never much for tradition, I wanted to see what would happen if I took a backward approach to a classic Italian soup.

Bread and tomato soup - known as pappa al pomodoro - is a wonderful way of using up stale bread and overripe tomatoes. It produces a richly savory soup that is thick and satisfying enough to make a meal of.

It typically is made by sauteing onions and garlic, then adding tomatoes and cooking. Just before serving, cubes of stale bread, chopped fresh basil, and a bit of chicken broth are stirred in. My approach reversed the order, panfrying the cubes of bread in olive oil until crisp, then adding the tomatoes.

Delicious r   esults. The bread retained a nice chew and the tomatoes - which were cooked for far less time than they typically would be - also had a nicer texture. It was a keeper.

Pan-Fried Sourdough Bread and Tomato Soup

Makes 4 servings

 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound sourdough bread, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the bread and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. The bread will quickly absorb the oil. Keep the bread moving in the pan so it toasts, but doesn't burn.

2. Add the wine, then continue toasting the bread for another 5 minutes. Add the thyme, oregano, and garlic powder, and cook for another for 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth, mix well but gently. Continue cooking until heated through, then stir in the cheese. When the cheese is melted into the soup, season with salt, pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Per serving: 503 calories; 18 grams fat; 10 milligrams cholesterol; 59 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams protein; 7 grams dietary fiber; 1,585 milligrams sodium.

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