I have various and sundry interests, among them, enjoying red wine, growing things in my yard, reading, and cooking. Oh, and watching The Golden Girls. Tonight, cooking prevailed.

Today was definitely a Monday in my job. I had to produce a handful of mind-numbingly detailed reports for a range of supervisors, which is never my favorite part of my job. What I like is people, being with people, talking to people, making a difference in people’s lives, teaching people to make a difference in their own lives, and spending time with all sorts of people. That? Did not happen today.

So I came home and planned to immediately disappear in my bedroom and not come out until after a few good episodes of The Golden Girls. Instead, I went outside with my dog and began immediately and aggressively removing weeds from my disappointment of a salsa garden. When there were, sadly, no more weeds to rip from the soil, I flipped on an episode and flopped down to pursue my planned lethargy.

Ah, heaven!

But they were cooking. Sophia is ALWAYS making something delicious and Italian, and my mind started wandering. To that one golden tomato I had left from my mother’s recent bounty. And to that stale loaf of Companion Bread I had been saving. I just searched their website to tell you specifically what bread it was, but I can’t find it on there. Someone who works at Companion brought in a bunch for us one day at work (along with some delicious pretzel bread). Suffice it to say, this bread had the perfect amount of both olive oil and crustiness and was seasoned lightly with some herb combination that made me think Italian, though I won’t swear by it publicly, so you can’t tell me I’m wrong.

I digress.

My mind wandered and I ended up in my (hot) kitchen, throwing together an easy pappa al pomodoro or, in English, bread with tomatoes. From what I hear, it’s Tuscan but since I’ve never been to Italy, I won’t swear by that publicly so you can’t tell me I’m wrong about that, either.

And it was an amazing dinner. What with it being tomato harvest around the US and all, I thought I’d share this so you, too, can enjoy a simple and delicious dinner that makes good use of the approximately 2,000 tomatoes you have right now (unless you’re like me, with a tomato garden on strike).

  • Throw some olive oil in the bottom of a pot.
  • When it’s hot, add in onions. Tonight I diced them finely, though I have made it before with big chunks. I think I prefer the chunks, but you’re cooking for you, not me.
  • When they’re sizzling nicely, add in 3-5 cloves of chopped garlic. Three gives you a nice garlicky taste. Five will keep the vampires away.
  • Add crushed red pepper to your liking. I like mine hot. If you actually have a thriving salsa garden, you can skip the flakes and use a fresh jalapeno. That was so delicious last year, when I had fresh jalapenos that actually grew.
  • Now it’s time for the tomatoes. If you’re doing fresh, you need to either get out your immersion blender or your big old counter-space-stealing blender. Now blend those tomatoes until they’re mush. If I’m using fresh, I usually save one or two (this time the golden one) to add texture (and, tonight, color) to the final product.
  • If you’re not going the fresh route with tomatoes, throw in a large can (mine was 28 oz) of chopped/crushed tomatoes.
  • Add 1.5-2 cups of water.
  • Toss in your stale bread, chopped into bite-size chunks.
  • If it looks too bready, add some more water. I usually don’t add more than another .5 cup, though. The final product should be very much a mush of tomatoes and bread.
  • Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Eat.
  • Rave about what a fabulous cook you are. Or, preferably, let others do this while you sit back with a modest smile on your face.

Because I was using cooking as therapy tonight, I didn’t even think to get my camera out to document this all for you (which is good because I still haven’t located that stupid USB cord for it). Instead, I leave you with another picture of Sophia, creating an Italian concoction that I’m sure rivals mine.

Sophia makes something yummy