Last summer we found a mushroom truffle pesto at our local farmer's market. The only problem was that the pesto was $8 per 8 oz container. I hate paying for something like that that I can make. I proceeded to recreate the pesto. We munched right through that batch. Pasta, bread, fingers :-) The pesto disappeared. I made another batch this summer. Same darned thing happened. It's just a perfect blend of flavors.
Then, I got the email about the Nature's Pride contest and knew that pesto would be perfect in a savory mushroom bread pudding. Connie was a bit skeptical. Bread pudding is a dessert. No, darling, it's also wonderful in a savory preparation. And the Nature's Pride multi-grain bread would be absolutely perfect with mushrooms and mushroom truffle pesto.
What did we think? We absolutely loved it. Connie had seconds. I was too full or I would have done the same thing. I started plotting how to deliver a couple of servings to my mother and brother, John. Both of them love mushrooms. Upon tasting his first bite, Connie suggested this should be the dish I take to Thanksgiving.
Mushroom Truffle Bread Pudding
for the bread pudding:
10 c coarsely shredded Nature's Pride multi-grain bread
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c dried shallots
8 oz baby bellas, sliced
3 shitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 oyster mushroom, coarsely chopped
1 T olive oil
4 oz sweet Italian sausage
1 c mushroom truffle pesto (see below for recipe)
2 c shredded swiss cheese
for the mushroom truffle pesto:
24 oz package button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
16 oz package portabella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 T olive oil
3 T white or black truffle oil
1 1/2 c finely shredded Romano cheese
1 c toasted pine nuts
1/2 c olive oil
Prepare the pesto. Coarsely chop the mushrooms then put them into a food processor.
Use a food processor to finely chop the mushrooms. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet. Add the chopped mushrooms.
Cook on medium heat until the vast majority of the liquid has cooked out.
This could take up to two hours. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and allow to cool. Put the mushrooms in the food processor. Add the truffle oil, Romano cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Put the lid on and start the processor. As the processor is running, add the olive oil in a small stream. Set the pesto aside.
Prepare the bread pudding. Pour the 1 T olive oil into a medium skillet. Add the slicd baby bellas, shitakes and oyster mushrooms.
Crumble and brown the sausage in a small skillet.
Whisk the eggs with the milk.
Add the shallots.
When the mushrooms are nice and brown, add them.
Finely crumble the browned sausage. Add half of the shredded swiss cheese and all the browned sausage.
Add the bread in batches, blending well after each.
Put the bread pudding together. In a greased 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the bread pudding mixture.
Top with dollops of the mushroom truffle pesto.
Smear the pesto around to make a smooth layer.
Finish with the rest of the bread pudding mixture. You want lots of craggy pieces so don't smooth this layer.
Bake at 350 for 40 min. Top with the rest of the shredded swiss and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Devour.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was given a coupon for a free loaf of bread.