June 18, 2011

Tomato Bread Soup

Dallas over at Southwestern Ontario Foodie, a fellow London food blogger, recently reviewed "The Ontario Table," a new cookbook that focuses on Ontario ingredients. She challenged readers to buy $10 of local food this week as a giveaway for the book.

London, Ontario has a surprising number of local food venues and there are many farms located within minutes of the city; however, I don't think the local food scene is as well-established as other cities. I do love that there are outdoor farmer's markets around pretty much most of the days of the week.

I nipped down quickly the other day to pick up some more fresh herbs for our herb garden and ended up buying two pots of basil, one pot of mint and one of rosemary. We already have some basil, parsley, sorrel and thyme growing, so we almost have the abundance of herbs we had last summer. I have also been snatching up Ontario asparagus every time I go to the market, as the farmer said the season is almost over for asparagus. There is also a great butcher in the market who sells amazing sausages for a good price. I got a chorizo, mild and two honey garlic sausages for about $8. So, I absolutely spent $10 on local food this week and will continue to spend more to support local food.

I had a baguette that was going stale and a lot of fresh basil, so I decided to make Tomato Bread Soup last night. I had made tomato soup before, but had never thought to put bread in it to make it thicker. The soup, also called "Pappa al Pomodoro," is a Tuscan dish that to me almost seems like the Italian equivalent to French Onion Soup.

I have a weird love for soggy bread and love it smothered in gravy with a hot chicken sandwich or melted in with cheese and onions in french onion soup, so I knew I would like this soup.

Tomato Bread Soup (adapted from this recipe)

1 baguette or piece bread that is a few days old and a bit stale
1 can of whole tomatoes, no salt added
1 onion, diced
1/2 of a zucchini, chopped
1 clove of garlic
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of water
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 slice of mozzarella to garnish


1. Sautee the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the zucchini.
2. Add the canned tomatoes and mash down with a potato masher.
3. Add the stock, fresh basil and parmesan cheese. Add the water.
4. Let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes. Add more water to get your desired soup consistency.
5. Add the bread and let cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Serve with some fresh basil and mozzarella on top.
This soup was a lot heavier than I thought. The bread melts in your mouth and the tomato, basil and mozzarella, as always, all work beautifully together. Next time I might add some crunchy bits of bread on top to contrast with the melted bread, as it can be quite a lot of "mushiness." If you're a soggy bread fan like me, then you will love this Italian classic.

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