Sunday, March 24, 2013

Parmesan Broccoli Rabe Bread Pudding with Pancetta

Adapted from Bon Appetit  Even without the pancetta (for my kosher and/or vegetarian friends), it's delicious

Printable Recipe

Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes - 1 hour
Serves 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or your usual milk)
1/2 lb/690g  country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)  This time I used left over Ace Bakery Roasted Garlic Sourdough
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
6 thin slices pancetta (Italian bacon) which I didn't have on hand, but I did have a 125g pkg of diced pancetta 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. I used my convection toaster oven at 325°F/162°C for 40 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. (Since I used diced pancetta, I sauteed them until almost crispy), then added garlic and red pepper flakes. Toss until garlic is softened and aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add blanched (see note at bottom) broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, buttermilk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl.  Add the cubed bread and toss to blend and allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. 

4. If you are using sliced pancetta, lay them over top of the pudding.  If not, just use the remaining Parmesan 

5. Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.

1. How to blanch broccoli rabe.  Since rabe is particularly bitter, I find it more palatable to leach the bitterness out for a couple of minutes.  Just boil water in a large Dutch oven.  Once it comes to a boil, add the rabe and let it come back to a boil.  Cook for just 2 minutes.  It will turn bright green but will still be very crunchy.   Immediately drain and place the rabe in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well and pat dry.  The "patting dry" means no "spitting" when adding to the pancetta & garlic or diluting the mix.

2. This is an easy dish to prepare the day before and just pop in the oven 1 hour before serving.  It's a great brunch dish that lets you sleep in like your guests.  Just make sure to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before putting in the oven to make sure it's at room temperature.

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