Bread puddings are usually reserved for dessert, but this savory version can be a meal in itself or a hearty side for main course soups or grilled meat. Be sure to use good bread--even better if it's a day old. Try rosemary focaccia or sourdough.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups (1-inch) cubed Italian bread (about 8 ounces)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl. Cover and let stand 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well; finely chop.
Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine the milk and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper.
Place bread in a shallow 1 1/2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over bread, gently stirring to coat. Let mixture stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.