We’d heard of this soup many years ago, but we could never really bring ourselves to try it. Bread soup? Sounds like something that you might be served on Alcatraz. Nooo, thanks! Upon reading Yvette Van Boven’s book, Homemade, we changed our minds. She explained that this was her favorite soup. Her favorite! Imagine, bread soup being someone’s favorite. There must be something there; we have to try it. What have we got to lose, but (according to her recipe) some tomatoes and stale bread?
So, the original recipe comes from Yvette Van Boven, but it’s the kind of recipe that’s made for changing. We did. We really think that you can’t have an Italian dish with tomatoes that doesn’t include basil. I bet that she just forgot to mention it. Oh, and just so you know, this soup really is more of a stew; the bread turns into something resembling soft dumplings and the crumbs make for a thick tomato base.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 clove minced garlic (about 1/2 tsp of crushed)
- 1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes
- red pepper, to taste
- a couple chunks of stale bread, torn into pieces
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp dries basil
We use unsalted tomatoes, mainly because we think that we should decide how much salt tastes good, not some corporate kitchen. For the bread, we always save the ends of the homemade bread when they become stale. We just pop them in a bag in the freezer; then, when we need some stale bread, just thaw. Our bread is quite chewy, which helps it stand up to the simmering. We think that if you use Wonder Bread, you’ll be disappointed.
Sauté onion. Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and more. Once the onion is soft, add garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, and bread. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Season. Add the basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve. Dish into bowls, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, or top with some shredded Parmesan cheese, or both, and enjoy.
This is one of the better ways to use up stale bread. The soup/stew is filling and has that rustic peasant feel to it. Once you eat a bowl, you feel like you can go out and plow the back forty. We give it four stars.