Savory bread pudding casserole made with roasted butternut squash.

Savory bread pudding casserole made with roasted butternut squash. Credit: Marge Perry

The casserole is having a well-deserved moment. Maybe it is the months of cooking dinner, night after night, when so many of us were accustomed to peppering our dinner diet with food we brought in or ate out. Or maybe casserole is enjoying the current starlight because it is so easy and comforting to eat. Then again, it could be the fact that you can get an entire meal in just one baking dish. I like to think the casserole’s stardom is the confluence of all three circumstances, like the perfect food storm.

This butternut squash bread pudding casserole is quite inexpensive to make; allows you to wisely use what might have otherwise been wasted (hello, stale bread); and is a wonderful combination of savory, sweet, and starchy. While it takes some time to pull together, much of the work is hands off, making this a very simple dish to prepare.

Savory Butternut Bread Pudding

1 3-pound butternut squash

3 large eggs

3 cups milk (whole, nonfat or anything in between)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound bread, preferably stale, cut or torn in 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 cup grated cheddar

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a sheet pan and 9 x 12 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (Don’t bother removing the seeds). Place face down on the sheet pan and roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes. (This may be done a day ahead). Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash it with a large fork or potato masher.

2. Whisk the eggs lightly; stir in the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Add the bread, toss, and let it sit 10 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, to allow the bread to get thoroughly soaked. Stir in the squash and parmesan cheese and transfer to the baking dish. Top with the grated cheddar and bake 25 minutes.

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