Thursday, 25 November 2010

Pancotto - Italian bread soup

Probably every nation have their own way to use a stale bread. In Poland the region I come from have it's own - a soup made with bread cubes, garlic, some lard and hot water. It is very poor and not my favourite unless it is made in more expensive version - with stock and croutons fried in butter.

However my mate who spends quite a lot time in her house in Italy (in Sabina) gave me this recipe for bread soup that I fell in love immediately. It is fantastic as you can use different cheese each time and end up with completely different taste. Also it is up to you if you want to add more bread crumbs to make it thicker.

It is great for autumn and winter, served hot, this amount of garlic, chilli and fresh parsley will keep any colds away from you, but it tastes great when tepid when the temperature outside is little bit higher.

Makes 2-3

piece of stale, good quality bread (I used sourdough baguette, it is important to have good quality bread otherwise it will become mash like when cooked), about 6-8 1cm slices
generous splash of good quality olive oil (bread should be easily covered with it)
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
big handful of fresh parsley
1 finger length red chilli
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan, grana padano or pecorino cheese
about 1l vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a pan.

Process the bread until you have coarse bread crumbs.

Finely chop the garlic, chilli and most of the parsley.

In the pan fry the bread crumbs for few minutes, stirring then add garlic, chilli and parsley and fry for another 2 minutes. Bread crumbs should be golden and crispy.

Add hot stock and simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.

Serve in the bowls sprinkled with some cheese and the remaining chopped parsley.

P.S. Thank you for your patience - I have come back from my short break in Poland and hope to publish on more regular basis now.

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