The poor cousin of the more famous ribollita, pappa al pomodoro is a typical Tuscan rural dish that reflects the needs of modest folk who had to make do with ingredients that were not only free or at least very inexpensive but also seasonal and easy to come by. It consists of dried-up bread, tomatoes and still-young basil. Out of these three elements plus a little spice, e.g. garlic, comes a soup, traditionally aromatic and yet very modern it its own way, laden with bright but delicate flavours. It appears on the menus of many top-quality restaurants. Vissani and Braschi suggest it as an appetiser.INGREDIENTS FOR FOUR PERSONS:200 g of dry bread, preferably the white unsalted Tuscan type.4 large, ripe tomatoes4 garlic cloves4 tablespoonfuls of good extra-virgin olive oilA few sprigs of fresh basil Coarse kitchen salt, pepper PREPARATIONBrown the garlic cloves in a casserole, preferably of terracotta. After a few minutes add the tomatoes cut in little pieces and the basil leaves. Add about two litres of water and when this boils but not before, lay on the bread in thin slices. Salt and let simmer for at least an hour. Take off the fire and serve warm but not hot in terracotta bowls, preferably terracotta ort ceramic, dress with extra-virgin oil, freshly ground pepper and basil leaves crushed by hand.THE RIGHT WINELong cooking eliminates the acidity of the tomatoes, so that a young red wine of middling structure will do well, for example a Ciliegiolo or a Sienese or Pisan Chianti. A Vernaccia of San Gimignano can be tried safely.