If you find yourself with a stale loaf of bread and want something for dinner this is a way to use up the loaf by turning it into an Italian bread soup. You can make it vegetarian by not using meat and sauteing the garlic and onions in the olive oil but I add sweet Italian turkey sausage. This recipe is perfect for the Autumn months as the mercury in your thermometer begins to fall.
The soup will bake in the oven for 40 minutes and will be piping hot. It will need to rest for a bit to let the oil cool down. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven to make it crisp again or if you are in a hurry, you can put it in the microwave for a couple minutes.
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 loaf of Italian bread
- 1 ½ cups olive oil
- 2 cups red onion, minced
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 pounds of canned plum tomatoes, juice drained
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Basil leaves, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250°F, cut the loaf of bread into 1-inch cubes, put them on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. The bread should be hard and dried out. Set the pan aside.
- Turn your oven up to 325°F. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, brown and break up into pieces the turkey sausage, about 5-8 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the turkey to bowl, there should be a good amount of fat left in the pan. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes until the onions caramelize. Add the garlic, sauté until the garlic just turns a golden brown. Stir in the olive oil and the tomatoes. After about 5 minutes, the tomatoes will become soft and mushy. With the back of a wooden spoon crush and break up the tomatoes, then add tomato puree, salt, and pepper. After about 5-8 minutes, the oil will turn the color of the tomatoes. Add the sausage, bread, and stir combining all ingredients.
- Place the mixture into a 9x13 glass-baking dish and bake for 40 minutes until the top becomes a nice golden brown. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese, and cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. For serving, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top and add basil.