Rustic Tomato Stew

This is one of my hubby’s favorites.  This is often what he requests when I ask “honey, what do you feel like for dinner tonight??”.  It is thick, rich, easy to make, vegetarian, and hearty enough to be the main course!!  I love that you can enjoy it in the heat of the summer or in the harsh cold of the winter.  A simple green salad and a  full-bodied red are great accompaniments with this classic!

Pappa al Pomodoro

Servings 6-8

1/4 c EVOO, plus 2 T

1/2 large onion chopped

10 cloves of garlic, diced

1 t chipotle pepper flakes (or more, to taste)

6 oz very dry (hard as a rock works best) sour dough bread cut into 1/4″ cubes

3 # roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 c chicken stock

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 c fresh basil leaves, torn

1/2 c grated parmigiano-reggiano plus more for serving

Heat 2 T oil in a med stock pot.  Add the onion and sweat it for about 5 min.  Add the garlic and hot pepper and cook until soft and translucent.  Add remaining oil and bread.  Let the bread slowly take up most of the oil, this should take about 5 min.  Do not break apart the bread cubes with aggressive stirring.  Add tomatoes, stock and black pepper.  Cook for about 15 min.  The soup should be very thick and the bread pieces should be more like baby dumplings now.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.  Garnish with a drizzle of evoo a basil leaf and some parm/reggiano shavings.

For a vegetarian meal, just sub in a good quality veg broth for the chicken stock.

Bon Appetit!

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