Pomodora (Italian Bread Soup)

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In old Italian kitchens, pomodora was a way to use stale bread. What started as frugality, ended as a delightful soup that tastes sublimely of summer. The cup of fresh herbs is very important—don’t skimp. Use a good bakery ciabatta or French bread. Even if the bread seems hard as a rock, it will melt in the hot soup. SAM

1 1/2 pounds onions (2 large), thinly sliced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 chipotle or poblano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons roasted, ground cumin
1/3 cup marsala wine
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with juice or 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 pound stale crusty French or Italian bread, torn into large chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh herbs: sweet basil, Thai basil, oregano, thyme, and/or parsley mixed to taste
Shredded cucumber or chopped avocado
Sour cream, yogurt cheese, or crème fraîche

In a large chef’s pan over low heat, sweat onions and bell pepper in 1/4 cup oil, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the hot pepper and garlic and continue sweating until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 15 more minutes. Uncover and raise the heat to medium high. Add the cumin and sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the marsala and reduce, about 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, water or chicken stock, bread, remaining 1/4 cup oil, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat, add the herbs, and let rest, covered, 1 to 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and pureé with an immersion blender or food processor fitted with metal blade. Garnish with yogurt, shredded cucumber or avocado, sour cream, or crème frâiche.
Makes about 2 quarts.

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4 Responses to Pomodora (Italian Bread Soup)

  1. Both of us posted Italian recipes today — Kismet! This recipe sounds irresistable, and you’re finally going to get me to try your “sweated vegetables” concept with this one. Sounds hearty enough to make a complete meal on its own, too!

  2. rockyroadoflove says:

    Yes, it can be a complete meal. It’s great as a hot soup, but in very hot weather, you can also serve it cold.

    Your biscotti sounds fabulous! Cranberries and pistachios! I’ll have to try it.

  3. jolynna says:

    Oh good, another way to use up tomatoes. And it sounds so delicious. I am slow and it has taken me awhile to catch onto the romantic saga on the right side of your page.

    But, now, I am loving it. What a neat and creative page you have going on. Besides the fantastic recipes, I keep coming back to see what new twist is going on with Sam and her guy.

    I make pomodora in the winter with canned tomatoes, but it’s so much better in the summer. I had a bowl cold for lunch with yogurt.

    I so happy you like the big romance. I love Sam and Harry. I wish I could make the episodes more obvious on the page. I’m sure you’re not the only one who hasn’t found the box.I need to be able to do big headlines and bold boxes but can’t find a WordPress template that will let me do the page layouts I want. Maybe it’s time to think about a custom web site.

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