This is a delicious tomato dish that costs very little, uses up some stale bread and is filling and warming.
- 300 g stale Italian style bread
- 800 g ripe tomatoes or tomato passata
- 1 lt vegetable stock
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 sprig of basil
- 1 tsp of fine sugar
- Extra virgin olive oil
Thinly slice the bread and bake for a few minutes at 200 degrees on a baking tray with baking paper. Set aside to cool.
Peel the garlic cloves and rub them on the bread and cut the bread into pieces.
If using fresh tomatoes, you should blanch them and remove the skin and seeds. Roughly chop them.
Warm some extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add the garlic used to flavour the bread. Add the toasted bread pieces.
Add the chopped tomatoes or the tomato passata.
Add the stock which should be boiling, so that it covers the toasted bread and ad a pinch of sugar.
Add some chopped basil to taste and cook over a low heat for 40 minutes gradually adding the remaining stock, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat when cooked and serve garnished with basil.
This dish is warming in winter but can be served at room temperature in the summer when it is a refreshing snack.
For more flavour you can soften some onion and celery before adding the tomatoes although this as a modern addition to the recipe.
The garlic can be removed if added whole or, you can finely chop it before adding it for a stronger flavour.
After serving olive oil can be added to the bowl to taste before eating.
The traditional Tuscan way of eating this dish is from an earthenware bowl.