I was recently asked by Inghams Holidays to create a recipe to coincide with the promotion of their “Lakes and Mountains” holidays called “Inghams’ Foodie Finds“. My brief was to produce a recipe to showcase the culinary delights of their holiday destinations. For me Italy holds a special place in my heart as a favourite holiday destination. I adore their way of life, the history, the scenery and of course the food and wine! With my summer holiday booked to Sardinia this year I figured I would do a little research into Sardinian dishes and the idea of eliminating food waste is always at the top of my agenda. This dish uses stale bread as the base to soak up all the delicious flavours of the stock, herbs and cheeses.
This dish is the ultimate in comfort food. A savoury bread pudding that has very few ingredients and centres on the cucina povera of Italy. This particular recipe is based on a dish from the Gallura region of northern Sardinia and is more like a bake than a soup like the name suggests. The use of stale bread is very common across Italy and the surrounding islands as it means that nothing goes to waste. The combination of stale bread, cheese and herbs mixed with the vegetable stock creates a deliciously indulgent lunch or supper dish at very little expense. You would never guess that it is made with so few ingredients.
- 250g grated pecorino cheese
- 10 basil leaves
- Olive oil for greasing
- 1 stale country style loaf with crusts left on cut into thick slices
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 1 ball of mozerella, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5
- Grease a 2 litre oven proof dish with olive oil. Arrange a layer of bread on the bottom of the dish. Pour over a 1/4 of the stock and leave to soak for 5/10 minutes.
- After this time prick the bread with a fork and pour over another 1/4 of the stock. Sprinkle over half of the pecorino and place 1/2 of the Mozzarella in a layer. Place the basil leaves evenly spread on top of the cheese.
- Place another layer of bread on top and cover with the remaining stock. Leave for 5/10 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with the rest of the cheese and put in the oven to bake for an hour or until the bread is crispy.
- Serve with a fresh green salad.