Use stale bread in this easy-to-assemble bread pudding, a.k.a. strata. It’s a delicious brunch or dinner casserole, featuring layers of mushrooms, bread cubes, ricotta, eggs, fresh herbs, and grated cheese.
- 1 pound (500 g) whole mushrooms such as white button, cremini, clamshell, trumpet (or a mixture of these)
- ½ pound (250 g) day-old, crusty, country-style bread, such as sourdough boule
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- ¾ cup (95 g) diced, peeled yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled garlic (about 2 medium garlic cloves)
- ½ cup (120 ml) water, or white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (115 g) whole ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (90 g) grated melting cheese, such as gruyère, monterey jack, or cheddar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and spray a 9x13x2-inch (23x33x5 cm) rimmed baking pan with vegetable oil, or grease lightly with butter.
- Clean and trim the mushrooms, and depending on what kind and shape they are, dice their caps, or leave smaller mushrooms whole. Set aside.
- Slice the bread, and then cut each slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3–4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, water and thyme, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms shrink a little, about 4–5 minutes. (There’s no need to cook them longer as they’ll continue to cook during baking).
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Mix in the milk, ricotta, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
- Spread the mushrooms evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of the bread cubes. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the mushrooms and bread cubes. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. (You can bake it right away, or store covered in the fridge, for up to 3 hours).
- Bake in the oven until set and golden brown on top, about 45–50 minutes.
- Let the strata cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.