The dish has ancient origins, although it was largely popularized by the 1911 publication of Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca and by its television version, in which Rita Pavone sang the well-known song “Viva la pappa col pomodoro”
500 g (about 2 cups) peeled tomatoes, chopped
250 g (about 1/2 lb) stale bread (preferably Tuscan bread), cut into smallish pieces
1 liter (about 4 cups) vegetable broth, warmed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
basil, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you can also use seasoned or spicy oil)
salt and pepper
Place the stale bread in a large bowl and pour the warm broth over it, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.
Over medium heat and in a wide pot, pour the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the tomatoes and a dash of salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Go back to your bread, which should have absorbed most of the broth. Add the bread to the pot, squeezing it a bit with your hand as you do so to eliminate any excess broth. Cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon.
Serve warm, adding a bit of fresh cut basil and a swirl of good olive oil on top. And remember, always cut fresh basil with your hands, not with a knife or scissors!