Pancotto (Tuscan Bread Soup)


  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) stale white bread (Italian style loaf), crusts on
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • small carrot, finely chopped
  • celery stick, finely chopped
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • pinch salt
  • pinch chili flakes
  • teaspoon dried chile (or chopped fresh chile)
  • cups (1 liter) water or veggie stock 
  • 3/4 cup (80 grams) finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  1. Roughly chop the bread into chunks, pass under some cold running water quickly to soften (but not soak), and crumble into pieces. Set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large casserole or soup pot, and gently saute the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic with a pinch of salt until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the chile and water and bring to a boil. Add herbsLet simmer gently until the vegetables (in particular the carrot) are cooked through and the broth is fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the bread and cook until the soup has become thick and creamy with the appearance of oatmeal, about 10 minutes. Stir through half the cheese and remove from the heat. Let sit a further 5 to 10 minutes, covered, before serving in shallow bowls with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on top, some herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Serves 4