This is a baked combination of the traditional French soup panade, usually eaten as a thick bready broth with caramelized onions, and the Italian pappa al pomodoro, another bready broth, but with tomatoes.
Serves 6 as a main course or 8 as a side dish
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
– 3 large onions, thinly sliced about 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling.
– 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and crushed to a paste with a little salt.
– ½ fresh red chile pepper, seeded and very finely chopped.
– 4 ripe plum tomatoes, about 10–12oz (300–360g), coarsely chopped, or 1 x 14oz (400g) can whole peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
– 1 x 14oz (400g) baguette, cut into slices ¼in (5mm) thick handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn.
– 6 large, ripe round tomatoes, or 2–3 beefsteak tomatoes, about 1¼lb (550g), cut into.
– ¼in (5mm) slices.
– ¼ cup freshly grated.
– Parmesan cheese.
– 4oz (125g) sliced mozzarella cheese.
– 1¼ cups hot chicken stock.
– sea salt and freshly ground.
– black pepper.
Step 1:Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Step 2:Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Gently cook the onions for 10–15 minutes until they are just beginning to brown. Add the garlic paste and chile and cook for 10–15 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until the onions are nicely browned. Add in the chopped tomatoes, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry; if using canned tomatoes, add the entire contents of the can, juice and all. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3:Oil a 2-quart (2-liter) baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with half of the baguette slices, arranged closely together. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, then spread half of the onion and tomato mixture over the top. Layer with half of the sliced tomatoes, and top with half of the basil leaves. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan. Repeat the layering process, finishing with the remaining Parmesan. Top with the mozzarella slices, and drizzle the stock over the top.
Step 4:Bake in the middle of the oven for 40–45 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with salad, grilled asparagus, and perhaps some lemony grilled chicken.