Tuscan-style Tomato & Bread Soup

Several years ago, I first ate a similar dish at a restaurant in Florence, a short distance from the Accademia (David). When I returned home, I experimented with several versions of it until I got the flavors right. This is a quintessential Tuscan dish, as the ingrediants imply.

Everytime I prepare and eat it, it reminds me of that great Tuscan Italian dinner I once had!

Yield: Makes 12 – 16 servings.

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Tuscan-style Tomato & Bread Soup Recipe

Ingredients
  • 4 (28 ounce) cans whole tomotoes, crushed
  • 2 cups red wine (Chianti, or another dry red variety)
  • 1 large head garlic, peeled and chopped, or crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 8 ounces pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large loaf day-old Italian bread (not dried)
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Preparation Instructions

Toast the pine nuts in a non-stick, ungreased pan to a golden brown, over medium-low heat (avoid burning). Then set aside to cool.

Combine the first 8 items, reserving 1/2 cup of the wine for later. Bring to a slow simmer, covered, stirring frequently. Simmer for approximately 15 min, then remove from the heat.

Finely chop, or grind, the toasted and cooled pine nuts. Add the nuts to the tomato mixture along with the oil, cheese and remaining wine. Stir or beat this mixture vigorously until all of the ingredients are completely combined and relatively homogenous.

Now, fold in the bread pieces and mix until all are covered with the tomato mixture.

Serve warm with grated Parmesan cheese and/or freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Yield: Makes 12 – 16 servings.
Helpful Hints

The recipe is easily scaled up or down in size, as desired.
Fresh, chopped tomatoes may also be used.
Fresh basil or oregano may be used when available.
This is not meant to be a hot, spicy dish. Use the red pepper sparingly, to taste.
The consistancy should be similar to lumpy, mashed potatoes.
If one leaves out the bread, it makes for a great pasta sauce or bread spread as well!
The flavors improve when made a day or so in advance.

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