Cooked Bread: Pancotto
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 whole dried pepperocini, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon currants or raisins
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 6 canned plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 6 cups hot water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups stale bread, broken into pieces
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup fennel fronds
In a large soup pot, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, fennel, whole chiles and currants and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the parsley, tomatoes and the toasted pine nuts, stirring to combine. Cook the tomato mixture for about 25 to 30 minutes. Add the hot water, salt, and pepper, to taste, stirring to combine. Bring the tomato stock to a boil and add the bread pieces. Allow the stock to cook 1 minute more so that the bread has a chance to heat up and thicken the stock before removing from the heat. Stir in the mint leaves and fennel fronds and season each individual bowl of pancotto with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
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