Storified by Arya McLean· Wed, Apr 03 2013 23:19:09
Soup is delicious accompanied with toasted bread but bread can also be added to the soup to thicken it and give it a wonderful texture. In Italy, bread soup is quite popular and recipes vary from household to household, person to person, and region to region. This classic gourmet cooking recipe adapted from The Garlic Book by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille is a peasant soup made with simple ingredients but is rich and flavorful. It’s a very healthy version and can be made part of a regular diet. Serve this as an appetizer or a light and nutritious meal.
In this simple country Italian soup recipe, red tomatoes are sautéed in garlic and olive oil and seasoned with red chili pepper, basil leaves, mint leaves, salt and pepper. Chicken stock is used as a base for the soup and whole-wheat, country-style bread is used to thicken the soup. You can use stale bread or day old bread but you can also use fresh bread. The soup is garnished with grated Parmesan cheese. Country Italian bread soup is a superb way for making use of stale bread.
The best kind of bread for making bread soup is Italian bread. This kind of bread is baked directly on the pizza stone or oven floor so it has firm crust and crumb. Italian bread can be soaked in the soup without becoming mushy.White American-style bread is not ideal for making this soup since it turns pasty when soaked and will turn the dish into a sticky mess. Day-old or stale bread is even better because it is tougher and can hold its structure better when dipped in liquid.
Italian brad soup comes in many variations and if you wish, you can add more herbs to make it taste of the Mediterranean. Some aromatic herbs you can add to the soup include rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley.