1¼ cups (300 mL) diced pancetta (about 5 oz/150 g)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 tsp (10 mL) Italian seasoning
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) ground mustard
¼ tsp (1 mL) black pepper
2½ cups (625 mL) milk
8 cups (2 L) packed cubed (3/4-inch/2 cm) day old Italian bread (12 oz/330 g)
2 cups (500 mL) shredded Italian cheese blend
1 cup (250 mL) ricotta cheese
1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) baking dish.
2. In a large non-stick skillet, on medium heat, cook pancetta stirring occasionally until browned (about 4 to 6 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel- lined plate. Add onion and red pepper to the drippings and cook stirring frequently for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with Italian seasoning, salt, mustard and black pepper. Whisk in milk.
4. Spread half of the bread cubes in prepared baking dish; layer with half each of the onion mixture, pancetta and shredded cheese. Top evenly with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes, onion mixture and pancetta. Pour egg mixture evenly over top; press bread down gently with spatula to coat in egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
6. Bake uncovered for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Serving: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 60 to 65 minutes
Stand Time: 10 minutes
Variation: Substitute regular bacon or ham for the pancetta and use whole wheat bread in place of Italian bread. Feel free to use one type of cheese instead of a blend.
Tip: Reduce the fat content by using all low-fat cheeses and low-fat milk.
Carbohydrate: 24 g
Protein: 22 g
Fat: 19 g