Just like we did in Florence, we took advantage of our Bologna Airbnb kitchen space to make a home cooked meal, away from home. With Bologna's notoriety for some of the "best food in Italy" we were excited to search out local recipes and ingredients for things besides the obvious bolognese sauce. Because it ended up being much colder than expected, and we wanted something other than pasta, we settled on a soup, Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro, or Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup, to be exact. While there are many variations, it's essentially a super fresh and flavor tomato soup mixed with stale bread to form a creamy, but slightly chunky, mixture that's then topped with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh ground pepper and some fresh herbs, such as oregano or basil. Our version is made with on-the-vine tomatoes (as opposed to canned), with fresh bread cubes added to the bowl of soup (as opposed to stale bread mixed directly into the pan), and topped with fresh grated parm in addition to the olive oil and seasonings. Essentially, it's like a well-seasoned deconstructed grilled cheese on top of tomato soup, but way better.
For dessert we unintentionally continued the red and white theme with a simple ricotta and raspberry dessert. Don't let it's simplicity fool you, though. Mr. RC and I could have easily gobbled up about 3 servings because it was so darn deliciously good.
Unlike in Florence, where we bought all of our ingredients at the market, in Bologna we shopped at a variety of little stores. But, whether you're cooking at home, or at your home away from home, you should have no problem finding the ingredients for Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup and the Ricotta and Raspberry Parfaits right in your local grocery store, and you should have even less of a problem enjoying them!
To get the recipes, scroll to the bottom of this post, and to see our tips for making your Italian home away from home cooking experience the best possible, make sure you check out our tips here!
How do you like to eat your tomato soup? With a grilled cheese? Topped with bacon, herbs, yogurt, cheese or something else? Do you like it chunky or smooth, plain or creamy? Spill the deets in the comments because I would love to know!
TUSCAN BREAD AND TOMATO SOUP
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh garlic, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano or basil
- 2 cup broth/stock
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh bread
- Bring a large pot of water to a bowl. Meanwhile, wash and score the tomatoes. Once the water is bowling, add in the tomatoes and allow to cook for a few minutes, or until the skins start to peel off. Once done, drain off the water, then use a knife to help peel off any remaining skin. Chop the tomatoes in to pieces and leave to the side.
- Back in the large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the garlic and cook for about a minute before adding in the tomatoes, broth, wine and seasonings. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl, add a few chunks of bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. It's also good, but not necessary, with a little drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of oregano or basil and some fresh grated pepper.
- This is traditionally made with stale bread, which is a great way to use it up if you have some on hand. However, I think fresh bread soaks up the liquid more easily.
- Feel free to use canned whole tomatoes (that you have sliced) in place of the fresh tomatoes.
RICOTTA AND RASPBERRY PARFAITS
- 1 Four Fruits (or Mixed Berry) tea bag
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- 2 cups ricotta
- Additional sugar to sweeten the ricotta
- To make the sauce, bring the water to boil in a medium-sized saucepan set over high heat.Once it boils, remove the pan from the heat and allow the tea bag to steep in the water for 5 minutes.
- Then, place the pan back on a medium-low burner and add in the raspberries and sugar. Cooking, stirring occasionally, until the much of the liquid has evaporated and the raspberries have pulverized leaving behind a thick sauce.
- Meanwhile, as the sauce cooks, mix the ricotta with a little sugar (you can use how ever little or much you like, depending on your taste buds). Feel free to also use honey or maple syrup, and, if you happen to have it on hand, feel free to also add a splash of vanilla, a little orange or lemon zest or even a touch of an orange liquor. Once it's all mixed up, set aside.
- To assemble the parfaits, simply alternate layering the sauce with the ricotta, ending with the raspberry mixture on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- These taste yummy on their own, but I'd recommend serving them with an espresso and a Tuscan cookie/biscotti for a trifecta of glorious Italian flavors.