Broccolini Bread Pudding

This is a quick comfort food for a cold winter night.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium bunch broccolini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
3 eggs
3/4 c milk
4 oz country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 c grated Parmesan
4 thin slices pancetta

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add broccolini ; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with pancetta.

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

Serves 4.

Spiced Apple Bread Pudding

1 1/2 lb tart apples, thinly sliced
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 c apple cider
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
6 c 1-inch challah bread, stale
1/3 c golden raisins
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Combine cider, butter and vanilla in another medium bowl.

Cover the bottom of a 3-quart round casserole dish with 2 c bread pieces. Pour 1/2 c of the cider mixture over them. Sprinkle with about one-third of the raisins and cover with about one-third of the apple slices. Repeat. For the third layer, arrange the rest of the bread, raisins and apples so that some of each is visible on the surface. Slowly ladle the remaining cider mixture over the top. Using a flat, wide spatula, press down to compact. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Use the spatula again to press down the top and baste it with the liquid.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes more. Baste the top layer again by pressing down on it with the spatula. Keep the cover off and continue baking until the top is golden, about 30 minutes more.

Let rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Scoop the bread pudding into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle each portion with some of the walnuts and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 8 -10.