Pancotto con Patate e Rucola - Bread, potato and rocket 'soup'


I have waxed lyrical about the virtues of old bread crusty, homemade bread, not thin white slices. It is even a pity to throw the stale bits away For this recipe it is worth letting some bread go old. The combination of bread and potatoes is, for me, a paradise of starch. This is my variation on Valentina Harris's recipe, which she has taken from the Apulian tradition.

Serves 6



  • 500 g (r lb) potatoes, peeled and
  • thickly sliced
  • 500 g (r lb) rocket
  • 300 g 10 oz) crusty old bread
  • 100 mL (37/2 fl oz) extravirgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 red chilli, whole (optional)
  • salt


Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and cook until soft. Add the rocket and bread and keep cooking until the bread is quite soft. You may need to add more water to the pot during cooking.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic and chilli, if using. Discard the chilli. Pour the oil and garlic over the soup. Season with salt.

Traditionally the soup is not served with cheese, but I like to add some strong pecorino.

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