Savory Pancotto Soup

A photograph of Pancotto
Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager / Styling by Judy Haubert

Courtesy Nicholas Stefanelli, chef/owner, Masseria, Washington, D.C.

Puglia is home to a bread called Pane di Altamura, which is the only Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) for bread. These rustic loaves from the Murgia plateau are made from specific varieties of durum wheat, and their crusts must be at least three millimeters thick. With a constant flow of crusty pane, the resourceful denizens have found a delicious alternative to tossing stale loaves: bread soup.

“The ability to use something that is left over and turn it into something that is delicious and soul satisfying is really special,” says Chef Nicholas Stefanelli, of Masseria in Washington, D.C. Some versions call for seasonal greens, while others add potatoes for a heartier outcome. This recipe is a stripped-down take that highlights the savory bread.

Four Dishes That Explore the Cuisines of Southern Italy
Ingredients
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large tomato, fresh or canned, rough chopped
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 3–4 thick slices rustic day-old bread, cubed
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
Directions

Warm large pot over medium heat. Add ½ cup olive oil and garlic. Once garlic begins to sizzle, add onion, carrot and celery. Cook vegetables until soft and translucent. Add tomato, and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, and bring to boil. Add bread, and reduce to simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add parsley, and divide among bowls. Top with Pecorino Romano. Serves 4.

Pair It

No single flavor takes over this dish, so it’s best to find a pairing that acts as a complementary backdrop. Tormaresca’s Pietrabianca Chardonnay is a mildly oaked offering that will integrate with the bread, cheese and savory broth elements in the soup. It will also highlight the rest of the dish with its delicate, citrus-driven acidity. Serve this medium-bodied white slightly warmer than usual, at 50–55°F.

Published on March 27, 2019
About the Author
Alexander Peartree
Tasting Director

Reviews wines from Italy and New York.
Formerly working in the Finger Lakes wine region of upstate New York, Peartree's passion for terroir-expressive products, which spans from wine to cider and tea, is only rivaled by his love of canoeing and hiking. On top of enjoying wines from the region where his wine career began, he can often be caught drinking Old World selections from his central and southern Italian beats.
Email: apeartree@wineenthusiast.net



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