Stories / Impact, Recipes

Italians Know the Way to Achieve #WasteNot Bliss

Frank Guerriero

September 11, 2019


Photo: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis

Proponents of Italian cuisine love to highlight the Old Country’s obsession with superior ingredients, but some of the nation’s most beloved dishes rely on products well past their prime. For instance, stale bread is arguably one of the most essentially Italian ingredients, whether it’s dunked in a cup of hot milk for breakfast, tossed with fresh veggies for a vibrant panzanella, or stewed with tomatoes for pappa al pomodoro. This #WasteNotWednesday, use up your leftover slices in Chef’s Boot Camp alum and multiple James Beard Award nominee Cathy Whims’s recipe for the traditional Tuscan bread and tomato soup.

The soup starts just as any great Italian dish should—with garlic sautéed in olive oil. Before the slivered cloves turn brown and bitter, Whims pours in fresh tomatoes and a Parmesan rind (which, as #WasteNot devotees already know, lends some serious umami). After the tomatoes have stewed to the right concentration, Whims drops in a loaf’s worth of stale bread and allows it to soak up all the bright, tomato-y goodness. We’d recommend flavoring the pappa with plenty of basil and serving it at the traditional room temperature for a subtle, comforting centerpiece at your next Sunday lunch. Get the recipe.

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The James Beard Foundation's new cookbook, Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, offers up a host of delicious solutions to the pressing problem of food waste. Featuring 100 recipes from alumni of our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and ChangeWaste Not will teach you how to turn every root, bone, rind, and stem into an irresistible dish.

Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, published by Rizzoli,​ is on sale now.​ Order your copy today!

Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.