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Valerie Kruse | Tri-County EC

This dish is ideal for using up day-old bread. Since the tomatoes cook down, feel free to use not-so-perfect ones.

8 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 large baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat. Sauté about 5 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and toasted, working in batches if needed. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add remaining olive oil to the skillet and cook the garlic 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Cook until tomatoes have released their juices and are submerged, about 10 minutes.

3. Add tomato mixture to bread cubes. Stir well to combine. Pour mixture into casserole dish and top with cheese.

4. Bake 40–45 minutes, loosening the edges with a spatula after 30 minutes to allow juices to distribute. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.

Serves 6–8.

June 2021 Recipe Contest