A Spicy Perspective

Pappa al Pomodoro – Homemade Tomato Soup

Happy Friday! Let’s celebrate the weekend with a thick cozy bowl of classic Pappa al Pomodoro, a rustic homemade tomato soup. 

Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe
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Classic Italian Pappa al Pomodoro is another dish we experienced on our trip to Italy this summer, and felt we must replicate at home.

I remember the first time I caught sight of this homemade tomato soup variation. We were sitting in a small italian trattoria with way too many framed photos on the walls, red and white checkered table clothes, and Chianti bottle candle holders on each table… It was perfect.

Chunky Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

An elderly Italian couple sat across from us, smiling at our kids who were trying to make heads or tails of the menu. A moment later their meal arrived, a whole fried fish, grilled vegetables, and two bowls of some sort of porridge that looked like meat sauce.

What is in those bowls?” I whispered to Dan.

We studied the menu for a few moments, then decided it must be the Pappa al Pomodoro.


Making Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

When our meal arrived, we had a lavish array of vegetable souffles, roasted rabbit, pastas, and of course the Pappa al Pomodoro homemade tomato soup that looked so appealing.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed the entire meal, the most humble of dishes had the greatest impact.

How to Make Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

Pappa al Pomodoro is a peasant dish, designed to fill empty tummies and comfort the soul.

It is thick and chunky, with a silky base, created by simmering day-old bread into the soup until it dissolves.

How To: Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

Don’t get me wrong… I love classic American homemade tomato soup, and I love tomato bisque.

Yet there is something about this rustic version that captivates and soothes.

Perfect Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

After tasting Pappa al Pomodoro our first week in Florence, we ordered it every single time we saw it on the menu. What’s more, no one in my family can stop thinking about it.

This vegetarian-based comfort dish has become the hottest request at dinnertime since we’ve been home!

Silky Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

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Pappa al Pomodoro - Italian Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe
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Pappa al Pomodoro - Homemade Tomato Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Classic Italian Pappa al Pomodoro, a rustic version on homemade tomato soup. This thick and chunky, porridge-like soup is so comforting it takes us right back to Italy!
Servings: 6


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes (28-ounce cans)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Chianti wine
  • 5 cups crustless rustic Italian bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  • Pour the olive oil into a large saucepot and place over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and basil and saute for 10-12 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Open the cans of stewed tomatoes. Pour the juices into the pot, then squash each tomato by hand, breaking into irregular pieces, as you place them into the pot. Add the bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, vegetable broth, wine, and bread. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Check the pappa al pomodoro. If the bread cubes haven't dissolved creating a thick porridge, use a potato masher to break them up into smaller pieces. Then turn off the heat and stir in 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • To serve, scoop the soup into cups or bowls and finish with a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 450kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 1099mg, Potassium: 745mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 6160IU, Vitamin C: 21.5mg, Calcium: 333mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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32 comments on “Pappa al Pomodoro – Homemade Tomato Soup”

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  4. We used to get a tomato soup like this without the bread, carrots, wine and Parmesan cheese in the work camp in Liberia near the French Guinea border. It quickly became a camp favourite! I made mine simple without the bread, carrots and Parmesan cheese. It was delicious and reminded me of Liberia and the great time I had working there!

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  6. I haven’t made this as yet but I have a question regarding the recipe. In the list of ingredients it calls for San Marzano tomatoes, however, in the instructions it says to “open the cans of stewed tomatoes”. Which is it, San Marzano or stewed?

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  8. I would totally put parmesan cheese on pappa al pomodoro but an Italian friend told me it was a no no for this Tuscan staple. Can anyone confirm? I am all about authenticity, which is the reason why I am asking. No no, I am not the soup Nazi… or am I? ;-)

  9. This is my new fav tomato soup! Oh. My. It was incredible and, like Lori above, I ran my immersion blender through it at the last minute to make it smoother and it was just perfect. Next time, I will be making a double batch too!

  10. I made a double batch of this today with roma tomatoes from my garden. I was short on fresh basil and fresh garlic, so I used what I had then supplemented with frozen cubes of garlic and basil from Trader Joe’s. I always keep a supply of these in my freezer. When it was done, the bread cubes were still a little chunky, so I ran my immersion blender through it till it had the consistency I wanted. Perfect, delicious, and headed for the freezer as soon as it cools!

  11. Am wondering if I make a double batch with all my fresh Roma tomatoes, would it freeze well? I’m thinking I would leave out the bread, then add it at the time of re-heating?

    • Hi Lori,

      I think it probably would, and I also think you could go ahead and add in the bread, since it needs a little time to simmer down. Let me know how it turns out!

  12. I am not much of a plain tomato soup eater. But the spices in these move this tomato soup out of that boring category. This one I would eat. with gusto.

  13. This soup looks hearty and warm, perfect for the upcoming season!

  14. So fun! I love finding a great new recipe when travel.

  15. Can you replace the Chianti with something else (live in a dry county)?

    • Hi Linda, Does that mean you wouldn’t have “cooking wine” in your grocery stores next to the vinegars? They are not the best option, but would be better than nothing. Otherwise, you just aren’t going to get the same rich flavor without using real wine.

  16. I just love this type of soup. Great comfort food!

  17. I want this NOW! I mean, if the temperature was about 30 degrees cooler.

  18. Can’t wait to try this…sounds delicioso! In your directions you mention “stewed tomatoes”…are the San Marzano tomatoes stewed tomatoes?

  19. This will totally get me in the mood for the weekend! And with wine? I’m all in.

  20. This looks SO comforting and perfect for the chilly weather that’s heading our way soon!

  21. Oh, this would be one of my top requests too! Love this!

  22. Loving your Italian dishes recently! This soup looks fantastic!

  23. Yum! This look so good! I love that it is a bit heartier than regular old tomato soup. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing, Sommer!

  24. The description of your feast had me drooling, but I can see why this soup was such a hit. Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

  25. love this soup! do you think I can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?

  26. Sounds amazing for fall! Too bad it’s still almost 90 degrees here in Atlanta….

  27. This soup is calling my name! Even though it’s only 6am, I crave it!