Summer Tomato-Bread Soup

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 2h
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

When summer's tomatoes are at their peak, Florentine trattorias combine them with stale bread and fruity olive oil to make this seasonal soup. To capture the true Italian character of this rustic dish, use a dense country-style white, whole-wheat (wholemeal) or mild brown loaf.


  • 1 pound country-style bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus olive oil for garnish
  • 2 small cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 to 5 1/2 pounds ripe plum (Roma) or beefsteak tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (7 cups)
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 cups vegetable or meat stock
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Companion recipe: Meat Stock Vegetable Stock


Trim off the crusts from the bread and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes; you should have about 1/2 pound. Place in a single layer on a tray and let dry, uncovered, overnight.

In a deep, heavy-bottomed soup pot over low heat, warm the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the bread and sauté for 2 minutes; do not allow to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

As the bread absorbs the tomatoes, add some of the stock as needed to keep the mixture soupy. At the same time, use a spoon to mash the bread, so the soup is thick and the bread blends into the tomato sauce.

Cook the soup, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until thickened and no chunks of bread remain, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest for 30-60 minutes to allow the flavors to blend and develop.

Return the pot to low heat and stir in the vinegar. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer until the sharp fumes of the vinegar have evaporated, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Ladle into warmed individual bowls and lightly drizzle olive oil on top.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2180

nutrition information per serving

494 calories; 16g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 824mg sodium; 85g carbohydrates; 13g fiber; 14g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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