Food52 is a great new website from partners Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. The idea of the site is that recipes entered from food enthusiasts everywhere will end up in a cookbook. I’ve been entering their contests weekly and have also made a few things from the site.
The best thing so far has been a savory bread pudding entered by Kamileon, a graduate student from California. The wonderful thing about this recipe is its versatile. You could easily use artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes or mushrooms and caramelized onions. As long as you have the right amount of custard and cheese, you can be creative. Here is my adaptation of her recipe:
Savory Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
2 cups diced and roasted butternut squash
3 cups diced and lightly toasted bread (I used a French Boule, but Challah would be excellent)
3 ounces prosciutto (purchase a large chunk then dice into 1/4 inch chunks)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. freshly minced marjoram
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste ( I really like Maldon’s salt flakes for this)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the diced butternut squash with some olive oil and salt and pepper for about 10 minutes, or until it is tender enough to pierce with a fork.
Lower the oven to 350 degrees. Place the diced bread on to a cookie sheet and toast in the oven, stirring once, until is is lightly golden.
Meanwhile prepare your custard by putting the ricotta with the eggs, cream and milk into a bowl and mix until evenly blended. In another bowl place the diced prosciutto and butternut squash and toss with some salt and pepper and the thyme.
Butter a casserole dish or 9×9 baking pan. Toss the toasted bread with the squash mixture. Place into the pan and pour the custard on top. Sprinkle with the asiago cheese and bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until it is firm to the touch.
While it is baking, make the salsa by slicing the cherry tomatoes and tossing gently with the remaining ingredients. Serve the salsa on top of the bread pudding. With a nice salad this makes a wonderful dinner for 4.