We have not been eating at home much lately, between Christmas parties and dinners/lunches with family. I actually cooked dinner last night, but didn’t want something that took too much effort. At first I was thinking of (canned) tomato soup and grilled cheese, but then I remember the delicious Pappa al Pomodoro in Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals. And it’s really easy. I served it with salad and melted a piece of provolone on slices of the ciabatta for David and Amber. Tomato soup and grilled cheese, just better. The recipe makes four servings.

Pappa al Pomodoro

1 loaf chewy bread, such as ciabatta
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion
1 cup chicken stock
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves
salt and pepper
freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or grated Pecorino Roman cheese (I used Parmesan)

Chop about 2 cups of the bread and reserve the rest to pass at the table.

Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add about ¼ cup of the olive oil, 4 times around the pan, then add the sprig of rosemary and the garlic. Peel and halve the onion and, using a box grater or other hand-held grater, grate the onion directly into the soup pot. Sauté the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove the rosemary stem. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes and bring it to a bubble. Add the bread chunks and stir until the bread has melted into the soup; the result is a soup-er thick consistency. Tear or shred the basil and stir it into the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and ladle the soup into bowls. Top it with an extra swirl of olive oil, 1 tablespoon per bowl (which I skipped), and lots of shaved Parm or grated Pecornio Romano cheese.

I’ve seen some recipes that add small white beans, too. Mine doesn’t and to be honest I’m not a big fan anyway.

I’ve actually liked everything I’ve made out of this cookbook. And all of it is quite doable, even for a not overly skilled cook like me.

Purchase: Amazon

Weekend Cooking is hosted at Beth Fish Reads.