A few years back I worked at an Italian restaraunt that served papa al pomodoro, literally bread with tomato. It was one of those simple, comfort foods, that just hit the spot. More recently I was going through my file of recipes torn from magazines looking for some soups to make and sock up the freezer. I came across a recipe from Saveur for the one and only papa al pomodoro and it just so happened we had a ton of stale bread.
This is one of those easy weekday meals that you can make a ton of to freeze. Dan and I are all about stocking the freezer with easy to heat up meals. I often make a enough of what I'm cooking to eat that night, have as leftovers during the week and freeze enough for one or two meals. When you've forgotten to go shopping and have no energy for coming up with a creative meal, pulling a quart of chili verde out of the freezer is absolutely lovely.
So what is papa al pomodoro? Basically it's stale bread soaked in tomato sauce thinned with stock. Since my general method of cooking is to read a recipe then put it away and cook what makes sense to me I'll link to the Saveur recipe and also give you an outline of how I made it. Let your style of cooking determine which one you follow.
G's version of Papa Al Pomodoro
I'm going to forgo actual quantities because I don't measure either.
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat with a little olive oil in the bottom.
Dice a large onion and a green bell pepper, toss them into the heated pot.
Cook over medium-low heat until the onions start to turn translucent.
Add crushed garlic, about a half of a head.
Cook just until the garlic begins to brown, just a minute or two.
Add crushed tomatoes, roughly 2 28oz cans or a large box of Pomi.
Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for at least 30 minutes, but if you have the time let it go for an hour.
Stir in enough chicken or vegetable stock to make it the consistency of tomato soup (not the creamy kind).
Bring it back up to a simmer.
Stir in cubed stale or toasted bread, rustic Italian or French work best.
Keep stirring to begin to break down the bread, about 5 minutes.
Serve with a little grated parmesan and chopped basil.