Monday, November 11, 2013

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

So, about a year ago we took a family vacation to Vegas.  Well, it was more like, my husband went down there to run the Vegas Ragnar and the stipulation was that we could come and hang out while he was racing.  Since I had 3 young children to tote around all by myself most of the time, we didn't really venture out much.  But we had fun hanging in the hotel, in fact my girls still rave about what a blast they had down there.

Whenever I'm on vacation I LOVE to watch Food Network because we don't have cable.  One of the nights I was watching Giada and she made this mouth watering bread pudding.  I jotted down notes furiously (please tell me I'm not the only one who does this!!) and couldn't wait to make it when I got home.

Well, here we are almost exactly a YEAR later and I'm just now getting to it.  But better late than never because this is so delicious!!  I mean, anything with tomatoes and fresh basil and I'm a gonner, but it was pretty spectacular with that artisan bread too.  That's one thing I will suggest.  Don't skimp on the bread, it's one of the things that really make this dish.  If you make this artisan bread, you'll see it couldn't be easier, but if you can't or don't want to I suggest you buy a good quality crusty loaf from a bakery.

 Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding
1 recipe Artisan Bread, day old and cubed (or about 8 oz. of crusty bread)
1/4 cup diced onion
2 gloves garlic, minced
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I forgot to halve mine, oops!)
1 cup fresh basil
5 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
2 cups whole milk
6 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Add bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add a couple drizzles of olive oil, then add the onions.  Saute 4-5 minutes, until tender.  Then add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.  Add in the tomatoes, season with a little salt and pepper and let cook about 2 minutes, until slightly softened.  Remove from heat.  Add tomatoes, basil and parmesan cheese to bread and toss to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, salt and pepper.  Pour over bread mixture, folding it in gently, where needed.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan, if desired.  You can also let it sit for about a half hour to absorb some of the liquid, but it's not necessary.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until custard is set and top is slightly golden.

Cool slightly, cut and serve.

SOURCE: Giada de Laurentiis, via Food Network

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