Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

What did you think when you read the title of this post?  “Hmm… Interesting….”  “Eww!!”  “I wonder how it tastes?” “Yuck!  Who would ever make bread pudding out of tomatoes?”  Well, my reaction when I heard of this dish was, more or less of … “I wonder how it tastes?”  Sometimes I can be very dramatic, but sorry Jose, not that time.  Hubby can attest to this particular behavior of mine, to which he will respond with eye rolling.  Who started this gesture anyway?  Has anyone ever done research on this very effective, suggestive, human gesture?  Hey!  If you’re bored, read this link from Wikipedia, it’s very interesting!

Anyway, Hubby was the one who saw the Giada De Laurentiis’ episode on the Cooking Channel.  He was so intrigued by this dish that he went online and read the recipe and reviews.  Some reviewers said that it does not like the “traditional” bread pudding as the Americans know it.  That it wasn’t sweet, but it was salty.

So we decided to give the recipe a go, especially since it involved tomatoes and basil.  Anything requiring tomatoes and basil will definitely be a “must try” recipe for us, since we love both of them together.  Especially now that my $3.99 basil plants survived the freeze and we finally planted them in the ground.  They were sad looking sitting in the pot; they had outgrown the pot I put them in.  Hopefully they will be more happy being in the ground and give me lots and lots of basil leaves for us to consume.

The ingredients for this dish really weren’t too out of the ordinary.  In fact, it was so ordinary, that I think anyone who is interested should give it a try.  Half a loaf of a good multi-grain bread, grape tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, garlic, shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper.  The recipe asked for 6 large eggs and since we are trying to be cholesterol conscious, I replaced half of the eggs with egg beater.  Egg beater consists of egg white which doesn’t contain cholesterol, although it is less flavorful I think.  But, we must compromise right?  Right.  (I do occasionally ask myself a question and answer myself… :D)  So feel free to ignore that Anny… It’s best that you do so…


I went ahead and measured out about ¾ cups of the egg beater into a bowl.


Then I added the real eggs into the bowl and mixed them up.


Then I halved the grape tomatoes into halves…  Ha… does that sound redundant?


Next I grated the parmesan cheese.  I’m sure you can buy the one already shredded, but I have lots of blocks of parmesan cheese in the refrigerator.


After about 10 minutes or so…  I got a bowl of fluffy shredded Parmesan cheese.


Then, I took the bread out of it’s paper package and put it on to the cutting board.


Cut them in half… and I think those bits of orange color were carrots.  So this was a super healthy bread!


Cut them up into about an inch size or so and dumped them into a previously greased pyrex pan.


Then I rough chopped the basil…


Sauteed the minced garlic and sliced shalot…


Dumped in the tomatoes…


Salted and peppered it a bit…


Dumped in the basil…


Mixed them up…


And them dumped them into the baking pan.


Topped it off with the Parmesan cheese…


Mixed them up…


Then I was ready to make the custard.  I added milk into the egg…


Salted and peppered it..


Whisked them up…


Then poured the custard on top of that bread-tomatoes mixture.


Then it was ready to be baked….


And when it was done…


Looking pretty good!


We cut them up into wedges and we dug in.  It was very delicious.  It reminded me of a breakfast casserole.  The tomatoes tasted very sweet, the blend of the cheese and bread were tasty, and the custard was complementary to of all those.  I could have used more basil, but overall, this is definitely a keeper.  It works as a leftover too!  I brought the leftover to work and wished I had more than one wedge to eat… so!  Am I convincing enough for you to want to try to make this?


Print recipe here.

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding
Recipe by: Giada De Laurentiis, via Food Network


Butter, for greasing the baking dish
1/2 (8 ounces) multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Parmesan
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

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