This savory bread pudding is definitely what I want to wake up to on a lazy, winter weekend. It has a ton of flavour, comes together easily and is the perfect way to use up bread that’s a wee bit stale. And if you’re a “breakfast-for-dinner” lover, needless to say, this would be a great weeknight meal, too.
Perfect for leisurely weekend breakfasts, or a weeknight meal, this savory bread pudding is flavoured with lots of Parmesan cheese, loaded with spinach, roasted red peppers and topped with crispy pancetta.
In addition to lots of spinach, I added some jarred roasted red peppers, both for colour and flavour. Lots of Parmesan flavours the egg/milk mixture and of course, there’s that crispy pancetta on top.
While this bread pudding does take some time in the oven, it comes together quickly into one large bowl, where everything is tossed together before being poured into an oven-proof skillet or baking dish. You’ll have time to enjoy that 2nd cup of coffee while it cooks!
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 cups roughly chopped spinach or baby spinach
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- About 1/2 slightly stale a whole crusty, country style white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (8 cups)
- 1/4-1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
- 6 thin slices pancetta rounds* (Italian bacon)
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove-top over medium heat (If using a cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet, just use the one you will eventually bake it in, to avoid dirtying another pan). Add garlic, red pepper flakes and spinach. Stir and cook just until spinach starts to wilt, about 1 minute. Remove mixture to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- To the large bowl with the spinach, add the bread cubes and roasted red peppers. Toss to combine. Pour egg/milk mixture into bowl and toss until all the bread cubes are well coated. Pour the mixture into your oven-proof skillet or 1 1/2 quart baking dish and distribute with a spoon until somewhat level. Top with remaining 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan, then the pancetta rounds.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until puffed, set in the middle and golden brown. (If pancetta is not quite crispy enough for your taste, simply pop under the broiler for a few minutes to finish).
Savory bread puddings are endlessly customizable, depending on what’s in your fridge. Replace the spinach with kale or arugula. Replace the roasted red peppers with sun-dried tomatoes or top with prosciutto, regular bacon or nothing, if you’d like it meatless. Finally, any cheese you like or have would be great in this dish.
*Look for pancetta rounds in with the sliced deli meats. Many deli counters also have whole pancetta that they can slice for you, as well.
If your bread pudding is done and your pancetta isn’t quite crispy enough, pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to finish.
If you find yourself with some stale bread anytime, simply cube it up and freeze it. Then you’ll be ready to whip up a savory bread pudding anytime! (Thaw in the freezer bag on the counter over-night before using).
Like a little heat with your breakfast? Add a splash of Sriracha to the egg mixture!
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