Monday, August 18, 2008

Recipe- Pappa al Pomodoro

Today's recipe is from Ashley of Uncommon Threads.

Pappa al Pomodoro

I learned this one from one of my professors in Florence. It’s a traditional Tuscan peasant dish and translated, it means “tomato mush”…but trust me, it tastes much better than it sounds! This is a simple meal to prepare, it’s very filling, and of course, SOO tasty. Enjoy!

1 small carrot
1 small onion
1 small celery stalk
1-2 cloves of minced
½ cup red wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the good stuff!)
7 or 8 ripe tomatoes (organic is best, always), peeled and diced (you can de-seed them, too, if you feel like getting messy)
1 handful fresh basil leaves finely chopped, with some whole leaves reserved for garnishing
vegetable stock
1 loaf of pane rustica (any bakery bread that’s nice and holey), stale, cubed (1” cubes work fine), and with crusts cut off (hint: cut off the crusts FIRST before you let your bread sit out and become stale!)

Mince the carrot, onion, and celery as small as you possibly can. When they’re all chopped up, you should have about equal proportions of each. Throw them in a pot with a layer of Extra Virgin OO on medium high heat. Sautee, making sure they don’t burn, until they begin to lose their color. Toss in the garlic and stir for a minute or two. With the heat still high, add the diced tomatoes and stir. Once they begin getting soft and losing their shape, you can turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the red wine (more is better, I think) and cover. [At this point, you can either let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, or, if you don’t have the time, simmer until the alcohol has cooked off then add about 3-4 Tablespoons of old coffee (the stuff that’s been sitting in your pot since the morning will work just fine). This gives the sauce the same flavor as if it’s been sitting on the stove all day!] Once you’ve let the sauce simmer for a while, you can add your vegetable stock. Add just enough so the sauce becomes sort of soupy. Stir everything up really well and salt and pepper to taste. Add the stale bread cubes a few at a time and stir them around until they absorb the liquid and begin to fall apart. Add enough bread cubes to absorb the liquid. Your pappa al pomodoro should be the consistency of thick oatmeal. When you’ve gotten the texture right, take it off the heat and let it cool. This dish is traditionally served slightly warm, never hot. When you serve it, drizzle a little Extra Virgin OO on top and garnish with some fresh basil leaves. NUM!!!!

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