Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

Bread pudding, an economical dish designed to use up stale bread, is most often associated with dessert. It's equally comforting turned savory, enriched with cheese and studded with mushrooms.

INGREDIENTS

3 T. olive oil
1 ½ lbs. mixed (or button) mushrooms, stemmed and sliced ¼ in. thick
1 T. garlic, minced
1 c. leeks (about 1 medium, white part only), cleaned and chopped fine
3 T. fresh or 1 t. dried sage, chopped
2 T. fresh or 1 t. dried thyme, chopped
3 oz. prosciutto, sliced thin and cut into ½ x ½ inch pieces

5 large eggs
½ c. whipping cream
3 c. whole milk
½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ t. ground nutmeg
½ t. salt, or to taste
½ t. black pepper, or to taste
6 c. 1 inch cubes of day-old French bread

Pre-heat oven 375°. Lightly butter or spray a 10 x 13 baking dish. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add garlic and leeks. Sauté 1 minute, add mushrooms and cook, stirring 2-3 times until browned and soft (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat and add sage, thyme and prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper and mix together well. Let cool slightly.

In the meantime, combine eggs, cream, milk, ¼ c. of the cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix together. Add bread cubes and let stand 15-30 minutes stirring once. Stir in mushroom mixture and pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese. Bake about 50-60 minutes until lightly browned and set in the center. Serve warm with chicken, turkey or roast beef and of course, a Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir!


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