Giada De Laurentiis' Italian Bread Soup Is an Easy & Cozy Pre-holiday Meal

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Is there any time of the year busier than the holiday season? We can’t think of one, and it seems like we’ve been spending most of our time shopping and preparing for the biggest celebratory meals of the year, which means that on weeknights we’re left wondering what the heck to have for dinner that won’t take too much time, won’t cost a fortune, and will still be satisfying enough for a cold winter night meal. Leave it to Giada De Laurentiis, author of Everyday Italian and Giada’s Italy, to find a simple Italian peasant food recipe that fits the bill.

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This humble meal is worth way more than the sum of its parts. Italian bread soup may have once been eaten as a way to soften up stale bread, and though it’s still a great use for those tough ends of loaves you don’t really know what to do with, these days it’s prized more for its comforting texture and rich flavor than its utility.

Courtesy of Clarkson Potter.

The base of the soup is a classic mix of carrots and aromatics that are sautéed in rendered pancetta fat (no pancetta? You can use bacon, which will also add a smoky flavor to the dish). The broth is made with crushed tomatoes and chicken broth, and is flavored with a hunk of Parmesan cheese, the reserved pancetta, and fresh basil sprigs. The bread is added to this flavorful broth where it simmers until it breaks down.

Courtesy of Clarkson Potter.

Before serving, De Laurentiis removes the onion and carrot, though if you want to leave them in you can — you’ll just need to chop them small when adding them in the first steps of the recipe. Each bowl of soup is ladled out and served with Parmesan cheese on top. Every spoonful tastes like if you dunked a grilled cheese sandwich into a bowl of tomato soup, but it’s even easier to make because everything goes in one pot.

The next time you’re feeling stressed out about meal planning, pull out this pantry-friendly Italian bread soup recipe, and you’ll be rewarded with big flavor for little effort.

Before you go, check out Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes below:

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