Pappa al po­modoro

Los Angeles Times - - FOOD & DINING -

30 min­utes. Serves 6 to 8.

Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 4 peeled and smashed gar­lic cloves 6 sage leaves 3 pounds ripe stew­ing toma­toes, quar­tered and stem end re­moved Kosher salt, prefer­ably Di­a­mond Crys­tal Freshly ground black pep­per, or red chile flakes, to taste 5 large or 8 small basil leaves 3 or 4 slices of rus­tic bread, lightly toasted

1. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat un­til hot. Add enough olive oil to coat the bot­tom of the pan by 1/8-inch, ½ to 1 cup. Add the gar­lic and sage and cook un­til the gar­lic is aro­matic, but be­fore it browns, and the sage be­gins to crisp, about 1 minute. Stir in the toma­toes, along with a ta­ble­spoon of salt and the basil.

2. Cover and cook over medium heat un­til the toma­toes give off their liq­uid and be­gin to break down, check­ing and stir­ring the mix­ture oc­ca­sion­ally, about 10 min­utes.

3. Re­move the lid and con­tinue to break down the toma­toes us­ing a potato masher or sturdy whisk. Taste and check the sauce for salt, and add a few grinds of black pep­per or a healthy pinch of chile flakes.

4. Re­move the sauce from heat and run it through a food mill, then place back in the pot and bring to a sim­mer. Add half of the bread, torn into big pieces, along with a good driz­zle of olive oil. (Don’t worry about the hard crust; it will soften in the sauce.)

5. Bring the sauce back to a sim­mer for a few min­utes, then re­move from heat, cover and set aside for at least 15 min­utes to give the bread time to soften and ex­pand. Stir to check the con­sis­tency; for thicker sauce, add more bread, one slice at a time, and giv­ing it time to break down be­fore adding any more.

Note: From Evan Kleiman.

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