Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
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I first posted this recipe for tomato and bread soup (pappa al pomodoro) several years ago, but since publishing it, I’ve learned two things about the soup that inspired its creation:
- The chef used water as opposed to stock.
- The chef used canned San Marzano tomatoes.
Both details surprised me, and while I have never successfully made the soup with canned tomatoes, I now only use water.
If this sounds suspicious or if you can’t help but think stock could only make this soup taste better, let’s review: remember that French onion soup we made last winter? Or that delectable fresh tomato-red pepper pasta sauce we made last summer?
Each of these recipes calls for water exclusively.
Here, slow-roasting the tomatoes, onions, carrots and garlic concentrates all of the flavors, making any liquid but water unnecessary. Furthermore, water doesn’t muddy the pure tomato flavor. As with the onion soup, you need to plan ahead — the onions roast for almost three hours — but the work is mostly hands off.
I know it’s hard this time of year not to eat tomatoes any other way but raw, with a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, but if you’re lucky enough to have a glut, this one’s for you.
Of course: peasant bread on the side.
Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings as a first course
Inspired originally by a soup served at Cafe Mimosa in San Clemente.
Notes: Plan ahead: the vegetables roast for three hours. Once they are done, however, the soup comes together in no time. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand — a few leeks, celery, peppers, etc. would all make nice additions.
- 3 lbs (1.36 kg) tomatoes, about, halved if large, left whole if cherry or grape, enough to fill a sheet tray
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped into big chunks (9.5 oz | 256 g once trimmed)
- 1 shallot, peeled and chopped into big chunks (3⅛ oz | 88 g once trimmed)
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated but left peeled, lightly smashed (1.5 oz | 42 g)
- one large carrot, unpeeled, roughly chopped (2 oz | 55 g)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, about
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- fresh cracked pepper
- 4 to 5 oz | 135 g (a couple slices) bakery style bread or peasant bread
- 2 to 3 cups water
- 1 bunch (1 oz | 28 g) fresh basil
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and more bread for serving, optional
- olive oil for drizzling, optional
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a rimmed sheet tray with all of the vegetables. The vegetables should cover the tray in a single layer. (Note: the total weight of vegetables is about 4 lbs or 1.812 kg.) Drizzle olive oil over top. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about three hours, but start checking after 2 hours — sometimes they are done in 2.5 hours. The vegetables should be soft and slightly caramelized.
- Meanwhile, toast the bread. If you haven’t already, slice the bread into ½-inch thick pieces. Place on the counter to dry or toast briefly in the toaster. You can also stick the bread in the oven for about 20 minutes or so while the tomatoes are roasting. You just want to dry out the bread; you’re not trying to brown it.
- When the vegetables are done, place them in a pot with 2½ cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Note: It’s best to bring this soup to a simmer slowly — it spits violently if you heat it too quickly. Also, reheat with the lid on over low heat for the same reason.
- Season with a pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes if using. Add the bunch of basil. Break one slice of bread into medium-sized cubes and add to the pot. Using an emersion blender or food processor or traditional blender, puree the soup roughly. Add the other slice of bread if necessary. The soup should be slightly chunky. Taste and add more salt or bread if necessary. Thin with more water until soup reaches desired consistency.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Roast, Oven
- Cuisine: Italian, American
Keywords: tomato, bread, soup, roasted, pappa al pomodoro
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
76 Comments on “Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)”
I made this tonight. It turned out fantastic. I roasted red peppers along with the rest of the veggies.
Wonderful to hear this, Nicole! Love the idea of adding peppers here.
This was absolutely amazing! My veggies were done after 2 hours, so I’m glad you noted to start checking at that point. It was impossible not to eat the entire thing myself!
So happy to hear this! It’s funny how every oven is different, so I’m glad you checked early…they can go from soft to hard pretty quickly. Thanks for writing in!
Just made the soup and peasant bread for our dinner, daughter came down from her room saying, “Oh, my God mom , that smells Amazing !” I roasted the vegetables for, 3 hrs. Although, why 3 hours ?
Thanks, very much for sharing this with us!
thanks for this recipe, it is my favorite. I made this this morning with my garden tomatoes and basil and the rest of the vegetables local grown. Doesn’t get any better than that. Love your recipes keep them coming.
Thank you, Norma. Means so much to hear this. Love this one, too…this is the time of year for it, right?! Our tomato plants were so good to us this year.
Making this tonite….can’t wait….
Oh Laurie, so happy to hear this! Also hieeee xoxo
I just made this soup.. it was absolutely delicious!!! I’m going to make it often! Yummy!
This looks delicious. You probably have more people finding this recipe this time of year every year as they to figure out what to do with the all the tomatoes they grew. 🙂 I definitely over planted my garden this year.
I love this one, Anna! Hope your garden tomatoes find their way into your soup pot 🙂 🙂 🙂
Question about adding leeks, I’ve never roasted them before, how would you suggest cutting them and would they roast for the same amount of time as everything else?
Hi Meg. I would use only the whites and very light green parts for starters. I would cut them in half lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch or inch pieces? I would throw them on with everything, and I wouldn’t adjust the time. One thought: be sure to check to ensure they aren’t browning too quickly. Like onions, the sugars in leeks can cause them to brown, so you may need to give everything a toss to ensure the leeks aren’t getting too crisp. Hope that helps!
I have never liked tomato soup, but I had a bunch of garden tomatoes that needed to be used quickly, and I remembered a friend had recommended your recipe to me a couple years ago saying it was the best. I figured I might as well try it. And I must say, it is delicious!! I keep sneaking back to the pot for another spoonful. I added a roasted bell pepper because my friend said she always does, and I left out the bread (just because I didn’t have any on hand and no time to make it), but I’m sure this soup would be yummy exactly as it is written. Thank you for an amazing recipe! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
Oh yay! So nice to hear this, Lindsey 🙂 🙂 🙂 This is one of my favorites this time of year. Love the idea of adding roasted bell pepper here. I swear it’s what makes my favorite tomato sauce so delicious.
THIS SOUP IS AMAZING! I never leave reviews on recipe blogs, but felt compelled to after making this today, as it’s quite possibly the best tomato soup I’ve ever made. My husband and I loved it! Thank you so much for sharing.
Oh yay! So nice to hear this, Ashley! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
At what stage can I freeze this?
I would freeze it when it’s complete. You also could definitely freeze the batch of roasted vegetables.