This vegetable-studded casserole makes a great side dish or vegetarian entrée.
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon coarse cracked peppercorns
8 ounces portobello mushrooms, cut into 1-inch cubes
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
6 ounces herbed goat cheese, room temperature
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 head garlic, roasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
2 cups milk
1 loaf day-old multigrain bread
Cut bread loaf into 2-inch thick slices and place on cookie sheet. Cover with kitchen towel overnight. (Must use day-old bread.)
The next day, preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cut bread into one-inch cubes. (You should have about 9-10 cups loosely packed). Place cubes in very large bowl.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, rosemary and thyme and sauté until onions are soft, and mushrooms are tender (Do not overcook the mushrooms).
Add mixture to the bread cube bowl and toss.
Whisk milk, eggs, egg whites, roasted garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, goat cheese, salt and ground pepper in large bowl until everything is well incorporated. Fold spinach into liquid mixture.
Pour liquid mixture over bread cubes and mushrooms and toss until bread soaks up the liquid. Transfer mixture to prepared dish. Can be prepared 1 day ahead to this point. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Place in preheated oven at 375°. Bake uncovered until set and top is golden, about 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Executive Chef Jeanette Prasifka is the owner of Crosby Catering & Coffee, specializing in vegetarian and vegan cuisine and organic coffees. A vegetarian for over 30 years, she is a leading advocate for healthy cooking in North Texas. For more information on cooking classes, personal chef work and catering, call 214.770.5573 or go to www.crosbycafe.com.