Butternut Squash Parmesan Bread Pudding
(Recipe from SIMPLY ZOV: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist by Zov Karamardian
Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; Hardcover/$39.00)
Mention bread pudding, and most people think dessert. But this savory version is just as delicious, and has the same luscious, creamy texture that makes the sweet version so appealing. . That velvety texture comes from soaking the bread until the custard is absorbed. Butternut squash lends a sweet, nutty flavor, and is a perfect partner with any meat dish.
1 1/3 pounds butternut squash
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ cup minced shallots
5 large eggs
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) loaf of brioche bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or eight 10-ounce ramekins with olive oil.
Peel, seed, and cut the butternut squash into ½ – to ¾ -inch cubes (you should have about 3 ½ cups). Toss the squash in a large bowl with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil to coat. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a heavy large baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir the shallots and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into the squash. Continue roasting until the squash and shallots are just tender, about 7 minutes longer. Set aside. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F.
Whisk together the eggs, chicken stock, cream, and milk in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, thyme, kosher salt, seasoned salt and black pepper. Stir in the squash and cubed brioche. Let rest for 30 minutes, or until the bread soaks up most of the liquid. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish or ramekins.
Do-Ahead Tip: At this point, the bread pudding can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Place the baking dish or ramekins in a roasting pan that is at least 1 ½ to 2 inches high. Transfer the pan to the oven and add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish or ramekins. Bake until the pudding is golden brown on top and just set in the middle, about 50 minutes if using ramekins and 55 minutes if using a baking dish. Using oven mitts, very carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven. The water in the roasting pan will be very hot, so take caution when removing the pan from the oven so that you do not spill any water on yourself or inside the bread pudding. Serve immediately.
Zov’s Kitchen Note: The hot water bath provides a constant, steady heat source and ensures even, slow cooking. After the pudding has been baked, some of the water will have evaporated, but some will remain, so be careful not to tip the roasting pan when you take it out of the oven.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Throughout her 24 years in the restaurant business, Zov Karamardian has been lauded by some of the most prestigious culinary organizations in the country, including the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Zov burst onto the food scene in 1987 when she opened her first restaurant, Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, CA. It’s phenomenal success launched the culinary career of a woman Julia Child called “a friend and colleague.” Zov considers herself a teacher, like her friend and mentor, Julia Child, from whom she learned much of her craft. She often hosts cooking classes at her restaurant and invites renowned chefs to share their knowledge. Guest chefs have included Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pépin, Anne Burrell, and Julia Child. Zov loves to travel the world finding new spices, herbs and recipes to share with her fans. She has devoted much of her time and resources to causes she believes in. The State of California named her Chef of the Year and the American Diabetes Association named her Woman of Valor. Zov has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines across the United States and is a frequent guest on radio talk shows and television sharing her love of food. Her first bistro has blossomed into restaurants in Newport Beach, Irvine, and in 2012, Zov’s Bistro will be opening in two terminals of John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, California. For more information on Zov, go to http://www.Zovs.com.