Tuscan tomato and bread stew
( SERVES 6 )
If you have an abundance of tomatoes in the garden or a few red beauties past their best in the fridge then this comforting Italian bread stew is calling you. Take an extra 10 minutes, you can toast chunks of fresh bread in the oven at 180C, until dried out and lightly golden, which adds depth to the dish.
- Tear or cut the bread into bite-size chunks, to yield 5 packed cups. Mince the garlic. Cut the tomatoes into chunks that vary in size, reserving as much of their juices as you can.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic; cook for 30 to 45 seconds or until fragrant and just turning golden.
- Add the tomatoes, their juices and the broth; increase the heat to medium-high. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or just until the tomatoes begin to break down.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low; stir the bread pieces into the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the bread starts to disintegrate a bit. Turn off the heat.
- Tear the basil leaves. Stir in half of them, until the stew is fragrant.
- Taste, and season generously with the pepper and some salt, keeping in mind that you're adding a salty cheese. Divide among bowls; use a vegetable peeler to shave some of the Parm directly over each bowl.
- Drizzle each portion with oil, scatter the remaining basil on top and serve right away.