The first time I tried Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce (using vegan butter), I had the same reaction that so many others have had: complete disbelief that anything so simple could taste so good.
For those of you who haven’t tried “Marcella sauce,” as it’s sometimes affectionately called, it’s made with only four ingredients: tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt. You can use canned tomatoes in winter, but part of what makes it so good is the fact that slow-simmered, in-season tomatoes really don’t need much to make them taste great.
That’s what I was thinking about when I made this soup. Granted, it’s a little more complex than Marcella Sauce, thanks to the addition of garlic and the bread that gives the recipe its name. But the idea of allowing summer tomatoes to shine, without too much fussing or seasoning, is the same.
Besides the magic of tomato season and the fact of the soup having only six ingredients (olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, and bread—I’m not counting the water!), what makes the dish so special are the cubes of day-old or two-day-old sourdough. They go into the soup a little dry, and they absorb and soften as the soup sits, turning the dish into a thick stew.
I like it this way: I let the bread absorb most of the liquid in my pot, leaving behind something hearty. But if you’d like to add less sourdough or more tomatoes, you’ll have a more soupy ratio of liquid and bread. It’s up to you: the bright, simple, summery flavor of the soup will be the same no matter what. Here’s the recipe.
It’s been a busy week so far, which has made it the perfect time for a recipe that’s all the better for being easy. I almost never make soup without some bread to dip in it; I guess I’ll call this multitasking.
Hope some of you enjoy this while tomatoes are still around. And hope you enjoy the rest of the week.
Leave a Comment
Hi! I’m always trying to replicate this delicious soup I used to get at cafe Medina in nyc that is permanently closed. I was wondering how the recipe would change if I used canned tomatoes? Change in water? What kind of canned tomatoes would be appropriate and size?
Thanks so much!
I remember Cafe Medina!
I haven’t tested it with canned tomatoes, but I’ll try to do that soon, and when I do, I’ll update this post 🙂
Thanks so much for the response! can’t wait to hear back. Have you had their tomato bread soup? It was the best!
I grew up in Atlanta, GA and this is is a great childhood memory food that can transport me easily to the past and warm food fuzzies. Good anytime of the year… hot in the winter, cold in summer or Judy left overs. Yummmm
I really like that dish I was just thinking how my grandmother cook it when I was growing up she made it sweet not sure what she done to get that sweetness do you have any idea there was no garlic or onion Thanks
Hi Rita, a lot of recipes like this call for adding a small amount of sugar for sweetness. That may work well here!
I am eager to make this delicious recipe. Can you tell me if the tomatoes should be peeled before cooking?
Hi Emily! Because I blended up a substantial portion, I wasn’t bothered by the peels at all. I didn’t peel mine. It definitely wouldn’t hurt to peel them, but I didn’t think it was necessary.
Gena, this is such beautiful quintessential comfort food that honors the season. It looks delicious! xoxo