Artichoke-Heart, Spinach, and Mozzarella Bread Pudding

Food & Wine
Using defrosted frozen vegetables can be a huge time-saver, since they're already cooked, but don't be in too much of a rush; you'll need to take the time to drain and dry them, or the extra moisture will make the finished dish soggy.
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Ingredients

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2 10- ounces packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed dry
1 9- ounces package defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, diced and drained on paper towels
3 scallions including green tops, chopped
1 quart 1/2-inch cubes of good-quality white bread
1/2 pound grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Heat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, scallions, bread cubes, and half the mozzarella. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and bread and press the bread into the liquid, making sure that it's well moistened.

3. Bake the bread pudding for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400° and bake until the pudding is puffed and browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Wine Recommendation: Chardonnays from northern Italy tend to be lighter and crisper than those from California or France. For a delicious partner to this rich bread pudding, see if you can find an unoaked example from the Alto Adige or Trentino.

Notes: Defrost frozen vegetables quickly by removing them from the package and putting them into a bowl of hot water. You may need to squeeze or blot the vegetables dry on paper towels before using them, but the defrosting will take only minutes.

Created date

June 2004