Serves 4
Bread soup is made in most parts of Italy with many variations, some including meat and some made purely with vegetables. Don't be tempted to use sliced sandwich bread as the result will be gluey. Pugliese, ciabatta or pain rustique make perfect pancotto. This recipe is from Anna del Conte's bible of Italian food, Gastronomy of Italy, which has been an invaluable reference book to me for years.

About 4x1cm slices of white bread with the crusts removed (see above)
5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp crushed dried chillies
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1.5litres light meat or chicken stock or a good stock cube
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated pecorino cheese to serve

Cut the bread into very small pieces and coarsely blend in a food processor for a minute or so, or chop by hand.

Put the olive oil, chillies, garlic and parsley in a pan and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the bread and cook on a medium heat, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until it begins to colour. Add the stock, season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer with a lid on for 30 minutes.

Check the seasoning and re-season if necessary and serve with the pecorino cheese on the side.

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