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Ingredient of the Week, Leftover Bread: Italian Bread Soup with Tomato

breadThe amount of times I’ve thrown out bread is criminal. It’s so easy to buy a sliced pan and find yourself eating only a few slices before over half of it has descended into staleness.

For our regular Ingredient of the Week feature, we thought we’d run some simple suggestions for what to do with leftover bread, besides eating more toast than you could possibly care for.

I’ve been given a loan of Silver Spoons, the bible of Italian cookery. If all you have is sock juice, tabasco, honey, and a stale biscuit, it’ll help you to create a culinary masterpiece. Silver Spoons has over 30 ideas for using up bread that will otherwise go stale.

This one is a nice big comforing bowl of soup on a miserable day. Very cheap to put together. If you have to buy everything from scratch I’m estimating it will cost around €7-10, for which you’ll have plenty of ingredients left over.  The most expensive part is probably the parmesan cheese. But you’ll probably have some of the ingredients lying around the kitchen; I reckon the average spend on this might be €1-€4. Not bad for four portions. Just make sure the bread is at least a day old.

silverspoonItalian Bread Soup with Tomato

Serves 4


  • 300g/ 11oz ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (to peel and deseed tomatoes, place them in a heatproof bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Remove from the water after exactly a minute. Slip off the skin – protecting your hands if it is hot – and halve the tomatoes, scooping out the seeds)
  • 2 day-old “country-style” bread slices, cubed
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 25g/ 1oz of Parmesan cheese
  • A tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Put tomatoes, garlic, celery, olive oil and a pinch of salt into a saucepan
  • Add 1.2 litres/ 2 pints of water and bring to the boil
  • Reduce heat, simmer for about an hour
  • Remove pan from the heat and leave to stand
  • Stir in the bread about 30 minutes before serving and simmer on a low heat
  • Sprinkle in the basil and parmesan. Serve

Gazpacho – a cold Andalusian tomato soup that uses stale bread – would be another good way of using up bread. I’ll put up a recipe when we start to feel some the lightness and warmth of spring. In the meantime, do any readers have one?

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