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Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Several years ago we were in Fiesole, just outside Florence when we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant – Perseus. The special of the day was Ribollita, traditionally made with day old bread, tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Alas, it was not very memorable as it was mostly bread.

I just came across this version which had less bread, no beans and lots of tomato-ey flavour! We thought it was awesome and certainly worth making again. Heres a view of Fiesole –

757_5714And now here is the recipe I found with a few alterations…

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil, plus high quality finishing oil, for garnish
1 large red onion, diced
Kosher salt
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, diced (Substitute two cans of chopped tomatoes)
10 basil leaves, half whole and half cut into chiffonade
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups day-old Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Coat a large wide pot with olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, to taste, and cook until the onions are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt, to taste, and cook until the tomatoes are really soft and juicy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Toss in the whole basil leaves.

Working in batches, carefully puree the tomatoes in a blender*. Return the tomato puree to the pot and add the tomato juice and the bread. Cook the soup over medium heat for until the bread has completely lost its shape and the soup is really thick, about 20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. (I usually skip this process as I like my soups chunkier, which means I just dd the bread to the pot. You decide!)

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with grated cheese, basil chiffonade and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/tuscan-tomato-and-bread-soup-pappa-al-pomodoro-recipe.html?oc=linkback

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Tuscan Style Grilled Tuna Steaks

Since our local supermarket had some great looking tuna steaks, we had to buy them. Both of us like tuna tartare (yes, the raw stuff) but we wanted to try grilling the steaks. The result was great!  This is perfect for a small get together over the long weekend, which is why I am posting this early this week!

Tuscan-Style Grilled Tuna Steaks
As seen on Food Network with Rachael Ray

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 fresh tuna steaks, 8 ounces each, 1-inch thick
1 lemon, zested
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, about 2 tablespoons leaves stripped from stem
Handful flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Coarse salt and black pepper or grill seasoning
Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking

Rinse and pat tuna steaks dry. Place zest on top of cutting board. Pile rosemary and parsley leaves on top of zest. Pile garlic and some coarse salt and black pepper or grill seasoning on top of herbs. Finely chop the garlic, herbs, and spices. Drizzle the olive oil over the tuna steaks just enough to coat each side. Rub herb and garlic mixture into fish, coating pieces evenly on each side. Let stand 10 minutes.

Grill tuna steaks 6 minutes on each side or 4 minutes on each side, if you prefer pink tuna at the center. Cook steaks over: high setting on indoor electric grill, medium high heat on outdoor gas grill or, 6 inches from hot, prepared charcoal.