Papa al pomodoro is a VERY Tuscan dish. The best papa I had in Florence was at Golden View, right on the river on the Oltrarno near the Ponte Vecchio, but it was great at Il Latini too. And now, on 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray did papa al pomodoro — with the recipe from IL LATINI, which she says is her favorite restaurant in the world! Here it is:

–Sautee one small onion, chopped, in a pan with oil. After a few minutes, add 5 cloves of garlic, also chopped, and cook until the onions are softened.
–Add three 12-oz cans of tomatoes, a combination of chopped, stewed, and/or crushed. Italian tomatoes have the best flavor. Season with salt and pepper.
–Add 1 quart chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
–Add two cans of white beans (I used cannelini and it was fine, even though she didn’t recommend that) and as many small pieces of stale Italian bread as you can fit in.
–Simmer the soup until the bread has thickened it; you don’t want chunks of bread. I did it for 30 minutes; longer than that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
–Put on Tommy Boy and enjoy. 😉

If I do it again, I’m not going to use the same kind of bread. I used ciabatta and while the inside had a great consistency, the crust on the corner pieces ended up making huge, long pieces of crust in the soup. I wouldn’t recommend using crust at all, actually. But it was still really good.

That night, James, Mike came over to sample it, and they LOVED it — they kept going back for more and more! It makes me so happy to cook for people. And now I’m making chicken piccata for fifteen today, which is very DAUNTING!

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