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Mushroom and Fennel Bread Pudding

(recipe, Michelle D ~ aka Sage)


What to buy: Pecorino is a sheep’s milk cheese from Italy. Here we used Gran Pecorino, an aged cheese that can be found at high-end groceries and cheese stores. Do not use Pecorino Romano for this recipe; it’s too salty. If you can’t find Gran Pecorino, aged Asiago is a good substitute. Game plan: Use mushroom broth instead of chicken broth to make this vegetarian. The bread pudding can be baked up to 1 day ahead and brought to room temperature or warmed in a 350°F oven prior to serving. From:


  1. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  2. ¾ cup coarsely chopped white onion
  3. 12 oz. coarsely chopped cremini mushrooms (about 4 cups)
  4. 2 cups coarsely chopped fennel (from 1 medium bulb)
  5. ⅔ cup finely chopped celery (from 2 medium stalks)
  6. 2 cups heavy cream
  7. 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
  8. 4 large eggs
  9. 12 oz. ciabatta or other country-style bread, medium dice (about 8 cups)
  10. 1 cup coarsely grated aged pecorino (about 3 ounces), such as Gran Pecorino (not Pecorino Romano)
  11. 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  12. 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves


  1. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When butter foams, add onion, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, fennel, and celery; season well with salt and pepper; and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and mushroom juices have reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly in the pan, at least 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter and set aside. Whisk together cream, chicken broth, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Add bread, cooled vegetables, cheese, and herbs to cream mixture and stir until bread is well coated. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then turn into the prepared baking dish. Allow bread to soak until well saturated, at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring about 10 cups water to a simmer over high heat in a large pot.
  4. Once bread has soaked and water is simmering, set the baking dish in a large roasting pan and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until custard is set and top is lightly browned, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.