Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Pancotto, Traditional Apulian Stale Bread Soup

Pancotto, Zuppa di Pane Raffermo Tradizionale Pugliese, it’s just simple stale bread soaked and cooked as a soup with the addition of rocket salad, sometimes also with diced potato.

Between the Forties and the Fifites, a large number of families in Italy were struggling with poverty and hardships after the WWII, thus it was not a given to have food on the table every day, and for this reason nothing was ever wasted or thrown away.

That’s why although not fresh and not pleasant to eat by itself, stale bread was never just thrown away, instead actually carefully preserved to be used in different preparations.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: approx. 20 mins

  • Stale Bread, to taste
  • Rocket Salad / Arugula, 200 g
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 5 tbsp
  • Peeled Garlic Clove, 3
  • Chilli Peppers, 2
  • Salt, to taste


Break the stale bread into chunks.
Blanche both the bread and the rocket in a pan of salted water for about 5-6 minutes, drain and carefully squeeze the bread to remove any excess of water.
The bread should not break down completely in the water, only soften considerably without crumbling too much and retain its texture.
Place the bread and rocket salad in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, brown both garlic cloves well with the chilli pepper.

Pour the hot oil directly over the bread and rocket salad.
Stir well to combine all the ingredients and flavours evenly.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.88 out of 5)


  1. I love reading about the history of recipes – it makes for a much more interesting meal to share! I loved this recipe – it is super yummy!

    1. Thank you for your comment Andrea,
      the history of the recipes – and of this in particular, is the testimony of those who really lived through that era, and who brought these genuine recipes to us nowadays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.