Tuscany is one of my favorite places in the world and I love to return there every chance I have. Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and all the other surrounding little towns on hill tops, surrounded by sunflower fields and cypress trees are just breathtaking with their beauty and charm. And the food, oh the food! During my last visit I discovered dishes like gnudi, ricotta-based dumplings, usually served with butter, salvia and parmigiano, and papa al pomodoro. Simple ingredients, grown under the sun, combined with lots of love and passion for food into the most delicious dishes…
Pappa al pomodoro is a typical Tuscan dish, a simple peasants’ soup, made only of tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic, basil and bread, where the bread cooks in the tomato soup so long to practically dissolve and give it a thick, creamy consistency. I adore these simple Italian flavors but I wanted a gluten-free and more nutritious, plant protein-rich soup, so I created my one version of this Tuscan delight. I hope you enjoy it!
For the tomato soup (serves 6-8 people)
2 bay leaves
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 1 liter of canned tomatoes
about 20 fresh basil leaves, washed
1 pinch chili flakes (optional)
1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other any other natural sweetener)
Soak the chickpeas overnight, then cook them for about 45 minutes or until tender in salted water to which you add 2 bay leaves for flavor.
In a bigger pot heat the olive oil and add the finely chopped onion, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Add the chopped, canned tomatoes and their juice, the minced garlic cloves and the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper, add the chili flakes (optional) and the coconut sugar. Let simmer for about 15 minutes and turn off the heat. Add the fresh basil leaves and blend all the ingredients until you reach a well-blended, creamy consistency. If needed, adjust the seasoning to your taste – I love a slightly sweet taste with just a hint of pepperoncino. This soup is delicious with some gluten-free croutons, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of parmigiano!