Panzanella and Sausage Casserole Bake
Panzanella is a traditional Italian dish from Florence that uses day old bread in a salad. Our latest recipe contest winner took this classic dish one step further and turned it into a a savory bread pudding casserole! It includes cubes of stale or toasted ciabatta bread, tomatoes, onions, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, just like the salad, but she also adds Italian sausage to really make it a meal.
Keep reading to find out how this recipe for Panzanella and Sausage Casserole Bake won our latest contest!
Congratulations to Lisa Speer! Lisa says, “This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite classic Italian dishes – panzanella salad. The classic salad is traditionally composed of soaked stale bread cubes and tomatoes, and both the salad and this casserole are a great way to use up day-old bread. I came up with the idea last year after realizing that a long-time family favorite, tomato bread pudding, had similar ingredients to panzanella salad. I combined elements of the two to create this yummy casserole, and added Italian sausage to make it a complete main dish. I think it is a delicious change of pace from pasta – it has the same flavor as pasta dishes with tomato basil sauce, and like pasta, it is satisfying Italian comfort food. Am so happy the Judges enjoyed it, hope everyone else enjoys does too!”
Panzanella and Sausage Bake (click here to print recipe)
1 1/2 Tbsp Plus 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided, plus more for oiling dish
3 Links Mild Italian Sausage
1 Small Sweet Onion, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
1 (28 Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes With Basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
4 cups Cubed Ciabatta Bread, slightly stale or lightly toasted
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the interior of one 2.5 quart baking dish lightly with oil.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sausages. Cook, turning as needed, until sausages are cooked through and browned well on all sides. Transfer sausages to a cutting surface; add remaining oil, onion, vinegar, salt and pepper to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. Add garlic; stir 10 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in basil.
Slice sausages into 1/2-inch pieces; place in a large bowl. Add onion mixture, tomatoes, bread cubes and parmesan; stir until well mixed. Spoon into prepared baking dish; bake 45 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes; serve sprinkled with additional parmesan.
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