Come to mamma .. or is it pappa? This soup was a very hearty, thick tomato based soup that actually had a lot more going on than your basic in-the-can soup. I usually throw some milk, basil and a can stove top but this is so much better!
My husband doesn't always appreciate the finer things in life; he is sometimes set in his old ways. He liked it but wasn't overwhelmed by it's hearty goodness. I, however, felt differently. This is completely worth making even though it is time-consuming and has a lot going on. One thing I did was shorten the length of time it simmered on the stove (turned out fine) and the turkey bacon and bread I baked in the oven burnt so I wouldn't suggest cooking them quite as long as the original recipe. I adjusted mine to reflect this.
Here is what the toppings looked like after the oven. The bacon really didn't survive well. Don't let it get to this point.
When serving, sprinkle the non-burnt toppings from the oven on top.
Pappa al Pomodoro
1/2 cup canola oil (or olive oil)
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced and quartered
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups ciabatta (or french) bread, crusts removed
1 large can (28 oz) plum tomatoes (or you could use crushed tomatoes)
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a red zinfandel)
3 tbsp basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1-2 cups ciabatta (or french) bread, with crusts
4 strips turkey bacon, chopped, half cooked
basil, to taste
olive (or canola) oil, to taste
Heat 1/2 cup oil in large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic cloves. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the bread cubes without crust and cook an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse blend the canned plum tomatoes. You can skip this step if you purchased crushed or chopped tomatoes instead.
Add tomato sauce to pot along with chicken stock, wine, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook additional 35-40 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, coat the bread cubes that have the crusts still attached with oil, basil and add the bacon in too. Place in a single layer on cookie sheet and cook at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and make sure to not over cook it! It will be done when the bread is golden and crunchy, but the bacon pieces are not burnt.
When soup is finished simmering, mix in parmesan cheese and whisk well for 5-10 minutes to dissolve all bread crumbs. Serve warm and top with bread and bacon pieces.