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Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato Bread Soup) with Grilled Eggplants, Black Olives (and Feta)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Pappa al Pomodoro

ma è meglio poi un giorno solo da ricordare
che ricadere in una nuova realtà sempre identica...

but it's better a single day to remember
than falling into a new reality that's always the same...

~ Francesco Guccini, Sirocco

It was a warm evening in August, the wet and deserted city populated only by tourists in love, tired old men and cats in search of masters. The two of us sat on the river bank to fiddle with our gaze; we were waiting for the wind and for something to change.
You had asked me to go back there, to that outdoor table where I looked at you the first time, tanned and shy with your veil of lipstick. Stifled by useless memories and legitimate fears, words and sentences remained suspended, motionless in the air dense of silence that had been gathering between us. There were one man and one woman too many, two lives already started and too big of a morality.
It was a warm evening in August, that night when we let ourselves grow up. We were still in love with each other in our own way, yet we no longer loved each other.

Pappa al Pomodoro*
with Eggplant, Black Olives (and Feta)

for 4
day old Tuscan bread 200 gr
ripe tomatoes 800 gr
garlic 4 cloves
tomato paste 2 tablespoons
eggplant, small 1
black olives 1 handful
crumbled feta 2-3 tablespoons
salt, pepper, olive olio, vegetable broth, basil as needed

Baby Eggplants

Slice a shallow cross into the bottom of the tomatoes and place them in boiling water for a few minutes. Peel them and pass them through the mill. Cut bread into cubes. Sauté garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, in a little olive oil, add a few basil leaves, and then the bread. Sauté for about 10 minutes until it takes on a beautiful amber color. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste (optional), salt, pepper and stir well. Cover with broth and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until the bread is reduced to a puree.
Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into slices, grill them on both sides and cut into small cubes. Pit and coarsely chop the olives. Serve the pappa al pomodoro garnishing each bowl with grilled eggplant cubes, a handful of chopped olives and a sprinkle of crumbled feta.
It goes without saying that feta is not approved by the vegan police. So then just forget it, and voila, wv <3, lunch is served.

*Room for a small self-celebration: the recipe above was published this month in the Corriere della Sera, in the section Racconti di Cucina (Tales from the Kitchen), along with three others of my recipes with tomatoes as the main star.
If you're curious, you can find the link to the newspaper's archive and read the main article of that page here. And in this regard, as if it were the night of the Oscars, I want to thank all those who have shown me great affection and who have posted and reposted the photo of the page on my facebook wall. Thank you!
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