Friday, June 25, 2010


In THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK: Classic Recipes for the New Century (WW Norton; October 25, 2010), Amanda Hesser, food columnist at The New York Times, author (Cooking for Mr. Latte), and co-founder of, has combed through the vast New York Times food archive and present more than 1,000 recipes for contemporary cooks.

An e-mail from Norton's publicity department describes this new project as a compilation of the best recipes from 150 years of distinguished food journalism. "Amanda Hesser, brings her signature voice and expertise to this compendium of influential and delicious recipes from chefs, home cooks, and food writers. Devoted Times subscribers will find the many treasured recipes they have cooked for years-Plum Torte, David Eyre's Pancake, Pamela Sherrid's Summer Pasta-as well as favorites from the early Craig Claiborne New York Times Cookbook and a host of other classics-from 1940s Caesar salad and 1960s flourless chocolate cake to today's fava bean salad and no-knead bread.

Hesser has cooked and updated every one of the 1,000-plus recipes here. Her chapter introductions showcase the history of American cooking, and her witty and fascinating headnotes share what makes each recipe special. The Essential New York Times Cookbook is for people who grew up in the kitchen with Claiborne, for curious cooks who want to serve a nineteenth-century raspberry granita to their friends, and for the new cook who needs a book that explains everything from how to roll out dough to how to slow-roast fish-a volume that will serve as a lifelong companion."

Miss Hesser was one of the first to write about Julie Powell and her blog in which she wrote about her experiences cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Miss Powell would go on to write Julie and Julia which became the basis of the popular film starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. She is also the author of The Cook and the Gardener, and edited the essay collection Eat, Memory. A cookbook will be published based on the recipes featured on her website, Aiming at the all-important Christmas selling season, as well as the lucrative wedding registry business THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK is sure to be one of the season's most visible cookbooks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


"In 2004, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that according
to a survey commissioned the the Italian National Research Council, one-third
of Italians would rather dig into a dish of pasta than have sex."

Well Americans love pasta too and sensing our carb phobia has finally passed, Giuliano Hazan delivers a diverse and tasty new cookbook devoted to pasta and all within 30 minutes.
THIRTY MINUTE PASTA: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes (Stewart, Tabori and Chang; $27.50; ISBN: 978-1-58479-807-1), is the kind of effortless and creative 'quick' cookbook that I like to keep close at hand for those nights when I'm not feeling terribly ambitious and crave something really delicious and soul-satisfying in a hurry.

Giuliano Hazan's has wonderful pedigree as the son of the legendary Marcella Hazan (and Victor too), and has accomplished much in the culinary world on his own. He has a cooking school in Verona, and won the IACP Cooking Teacher of the Year award in 2007. His first book, The Classic Pasta Cookbook, sold half a million copies worldwide. He regularly appears on TV (including the Today Show).

Do we need another book on pasta? We do when it comes to the variety of quickly prepared dishes Hazan presents here. He gives new currency to old favorites and manages to create new ways or variations to expand our pasta repertoire. Spaghetti with a Meatless Carbonara dispenses with pancetta, and in the process gives us a newer, fresher, and lighter version of this old classic. Spaghetti with Olives, Capers and Anchovies, omits tomatoes (Puttanesca-style) with breadcrumbs binding the sauce instead of the usual tomatoes. Broccoli Soup with Pasta is as easy as it is delicious and offers lots of flavor and the few ingredients needed make it an easy weeknight effort. There are four sauces with a pesto component: Classic Basil Pesto, Creamy Basil Pesto, Walnut Pesto and Parsley and Mint Pesto.

There are classics we love here too. I had to go to Rome to discover the joy of tucking into Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper (Cacio e Pepe) and once sampled, I had to have it over and over again. Fettucine Alfredo, Fettucine with Spring Vegetables (known as Primavera--Hazan's rightly advises not to undercook the vegetables, which concentrate their flavor), Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella (Sorrentina), Orecchiette with Broccoli, Bucatini with Spicy Tomato Sauce (all'Amatriciana), are just a few of the best-known pasta dishes to be found here.

Intriguing and unusual combinations included Tagliatelle with Chickpeas, Spaghetti with Melon (cantaloupe), Spaghetti with Carrots and Fusilli with Butternut Squash. A favorite for me in this spring season just past is Penne with Asparagus and Prosciutto. This elegant pasta is rich and the addition of some of the water used to cook the asparagus gives it a more intense flavor.

Hazan discusses both dried and fresh pasta (and wisely enjoys both, side-stepping that dreary subject of preference) as well as the many shapes you'll find in your local market. He helps the cook set up their pantry including perishables, non-perishables, various cheeses, herbs, olives, and other Italian staples with one page devoted entirely to the proper way to cook pasta. From there on, Hazan organizes his recipes into categories: Pasta soups, and pastas with vegetables, seafood and meat. There are many beautifully styled photographs by Joseph De Leo, which would make the book an ideal gift.

GIULIANO HAZAN'S THIRTY MINUTE PASTAS is a book to turn to when you need to get a great meal on the table in record time. But use it only when you're in a hurry. Linguine with Crab and Arugula, begs to be prepared for company.

Penne with Asparagus and Prosciutto

This is one of our favorites in spring when sweet, meaty asparagus is in season. To infuse this sauce with a rich asparagus flavor, I save some of the water the asparagus cooks in and use it to deglaze the skillet.

3/4 pound asparagus

1/2 medium yellow onion

3 tablespoons butter

4 ounces prosciutto, sliced 1/8 inch thick


Freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 pound penne (short fusilli or egg fettuccine are also good)

(serves 4)

1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

2. Fill a 10-inch skillet (or asparagus cooker) with water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

3. Cut off the white woody bottom part of the asparagus spears, then peel the remaining bottom third. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water, then gently slide in the asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then lift it out and set aside. Save 1/2 cup of the water the asparagus cooked in.

4. While the asparagus is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, add the chopped onion, and place over medium high heat. Sauté until the onion has turned to a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.

5. Cut the prosciutto slices into strips about 1/8-inch wide and 1-inch long. When the onion is ready, add the prosciutto and sauté until it loses its raw color, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths and add then to the pan. Continue sautéing until the asparagus becomes lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the saved asparagus water and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated completely, loosening any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

7. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.

8. While the pasta is cooking, add the cream to the asragus and cook until the cream has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

9. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve at once.

Monday, June 21, 2010


For nearly fifteen years, Frances Mayes has been enchanting readers about her love affair with Italy. Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, her two previous bestselling memoirs, magically recount her finding and restoring a broken down villa in Cortona, Italy, near Florence, and her subsequent life there, shared with her poet-husband Ed. In EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY: Seasons of an Italian Life (Broadway Books; $25.00; ISBN: 978-0-7679-2982-0), Mrs. Mayes is now a famous author. Her work has benefited the town of Cortona, luring hordes of tourists eager to see the house and perhaps meet its mistress. Where once she and her husband took on the renovation work themselves, a recently purchased property in dilapidated state not far from Bramasole, the villa they lovingly restored, has been turned over to professionals for a major rehab. Now retired from her demanding teaching job in San Francisco, Mrs. Mayes has the time to explore the country’s many pleasures. If anything she is even more enamored of Italy and her delight with her adopted home becomes ours.

“The giving, the fun, and the spontaneity of every day life here shock me and return me immediately to a munificent state of being that gradually start to feel normal,” she writes ecstatically early on in EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY. “I begin to notice here at Bramasole, that my skin fits perfectly over my body, just as this house sits so serenely and naturally on this hillside.” Later on she writes, “In Tuscany, I learned to take time. Take time to have coffee with the one-armed man in my neighborhood, who tells me how he drives his stick-shift Panda with his dog in his lap, and how as a child he ate bread dipped in red wine for breakfast. Dividing the snarl of Iris bulbs and replanting them around an olive tree takes time. I find that I have it.” This is the kind of poetic narrative that has won for Mrs. Mayes, many readers. Whether searching out the canvases of Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli, foraging for wild field greens near her house, or sitting in the main piazza of Cortona, sipping a coffee, Mrs. Mayes takes time, and reading her elegant prose, we are rewarded over and over again as she describes the endless ways that life in Italy continues to stimulate and give her joy.

Readers who make pilgrimages to Bramasole leave modest offerings such a flowers and other gifts. The film version of Under the Tuscan Sun brought even more visitors, to the point where Cortona is a thriving tourist attraction. “Tourists who arrive with their cameras want to see the house more than they want to see me,” she writes with bemusement. “Some stay for an hour, staring up. Friendships begin in the road, and one marriage resulted from two people meeting here. What visitors don’t know is how the sound carries on the side of the hill. Up in my study with the windows open, I often hear blissful comments (“Isn’t it dreamy, just dreamy,” “Oh, my god, how spectacular—look at those roses”), speculation about my private life (“They got divorced, you know” and, of course, the most frequent refrain—“She doesn’t live here anymore”). Sometimes I hear, “This can’t be Bramasole—that screen is wonky,” “It’s crumbling,” and “My house is much bigger than this.”

And with success comes some unpleasantness as well. In circulating a petition to protest the site of the building of a public pool near her home, Mrs. Mayes found herself feeling like something of an outsider. Few of their Italian neighbors were willing to sign the petition for fear of reprisals such as their taxes going up, or their businesses being investigated. A hostile and inaccurate story in a small local paper by the editor who had an interest in the business earned sympathy from the locals, but the project still went forward. Strangely reprisal does arrive in a surprisingly scary way through a hand-grenade that was left in her driveway. Someone was clearly sending a message, and it understandably frightened her.

Unlike many recent books that chronicle life in a foreign country, Mrs. Mayes avoids being cute. There are no humorless forced stories about the quaint behavior of the “locals” in her books. She isn’t totally serious, describing her delight in sitting at dinner one evening next to Robert Redford where they talk of good writers they admire.

Food is a part of EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY as it has been in her previous books, and there are some lovely recipes here, including a Plum Tart (Torta Di Susine Con Mandorle) and Faro Salad (Insalata Di Faro), a grain that is native to Tuscany and ought to be better known in the U.S. Clearly she is an accomplished cook and the book is full of delightful meals served at her table or at the homes of friends. Part of the many short trips Mrs. Mayes describes in the book such as Portofino or Assisi, is the food they find in local restaurants. The long Tuscan summers are given over to great feasts of good food and wine, and the winters feature meals in the comfort of a warm house with friends, the delicious meals keeping the cold far away.

In the final chapters, Mrs. Mayes writes eloquently about the differences between eating in America and in Italy. “At the table, there is no discussion among the children about what someone does or does not like, because they like everything Aurora, Fiorella, Linda, Ombretta, Giusi, Silvia, or Donatella serve,” she writes with a sense of wonder. “The language helps, too. Coniglio and agnello don’t convey the loaded sentiments of Peter Rabbit and Mary’s little lamb." She begins to teach her grandson, Willie who visits in the summer to cook. And near the end of the chapter, these lines made me smile. “I’ve never heard of a dish referred to as ‘your protein’ or ‘a carb,’ and there’s no dreary talk at all about glutens, portion control, fat content, or calories. Eating in Italy made me aware of how tortured the relationship to food is in my country. After a long Tuscan dinner, I feel not only the gift of exceptional company, food, and wine, but also an inexplicable sense of well-being, of revival. Dinner invigorates the spirit as it nourishes the body.”

I read EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY quickly and in big chunks and only began to slow down by the final third, adapting my reading time to the book's rhythm. Why did it take me so long to get the message? Now I understand the concept of taking time. Thank you, Frances Mayes.

Insalata Di Farro

Farro Salad

Farro is sometimes translated as spelt but is actually its own distinctive grain. Tuscans love it with chickpeas in a rousing winter soup. In summer, faro salad is an inspired choice for lunches because it is easy, abundant, and tasty. Leftover faro salad keeps in the fridge for 3 or 4 days and is handy for wraps or to serve in radicchio leaves on an antipasto platter. Serves 10

2 cups faro

4 tomatoes, chopped, or ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced

2 or 3 ribs celery, chopped

½ cup green olives, cut in half if they’re large

2 shallots, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup basil leaves, torn

1 cup parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

Follow the directions on the package of faro. Usually it cooks in less than 2 hours. While the faro is cooking, mix the other ingredients together. Drain the faro and add it to the vegetable mixture, correct the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 14, 2010

FALL PREVIEW: Dorrie Greenspan Gives French Food a Lift

Between September and December, publishers will be wooing us with a stunning array of new cookbooks. I want to whet appetites for some of the goodies to come and will do so throughout the summer in a series of previews.

I want to begin with what I think may end up becoming the cookbook of the year. In AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Dorrie Greenspan could quite possibly make French food popular in this country again. I'm not saying there have been any good French cookbooks lately, but between the politics of the Bush administration (those ghastly jingoistic 'freedom fries'), and America's seemingly endless love affair with Italian food, French cuisine, has seemed to have fallen on hard times. I'm not suggesting a return to French haute cuisine, which is better left to the professionals in top French restaurants. I'm talking about real French cooking, prepared at home for family and friends. And Dorrie Greenspan has created an intoxicating blend of classics (gougères, pissaladière, boeuf à la mode, pommes dauphinois, crème brûlée, clafoutis) with a much larger portion of the recipes given over to the kinds of foods she has been making in her French kitchen for the past thirteen years. I was writing to Dorrie's editor about my first reaction to AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE: “The pumpkin recipe (Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good, which means bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, scallions and heavy cream--you'll just have to get the book to find out how this heavenly concoction comes together) looks divine. So does the Cauliflower Gratin, and Hachis Parmentier. I want to do the skate recipe, but can't find skate here yet. Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans--is that a great gimmick or what? The Savory Cheese and Chive Bread toasted could be my go-to bedtime snack. That Citrus-Berry Terrine looks swell. Is she trying to kill me with that Nutella Tartine? I want to make the Orange Almond Tart today." But the focus is on a wide variety of nibbles, first courses, soups, salads, fish and shellfish, poultry and meats and desserts.

AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE already has the kind of quotes that cookbook writers kill for from Ina Garten, Patricia Wells and and David Lebovitz. I've been amassing Dorrie Greenspan books since she published Sweet Times nearly twenty years ago. She's a James Beard and an IACP award winner, contributes frequently to Parade, and has been a Bon Appétit for years, and is frequently heard on NPR about food matters.

If you love to read cookbooks like I do, you'll love reading this--Dorrie is very chatty and reading her is like a dialogue with a cherished friend. But most of all, this is a truly wide-ranging and thoroughly up-to-the-minute collection of food exemplifies French cooking today. And like that famous American woman who taught our parents how to cook French food in the early 60s, Dorrie is poised to teach a few new generations about this endlessly fascinating and delicious cuisine.

AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE goes right to the top of my Christmas gift-giving books this year.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I've never been a fan of steakhouses. I eat less red meat than ever before, but I'm certainly not against eating a well-grilled steak. But steakhouses in my experience do a terrible job. It seems to me that they spend all that time looking for quality cuts of meat and completely ignore the rest of the meal. Or they are absurdly dumb in the way they present a steak to their customers. For instance, try Morton's the nationwide chain. They individually wrap their various cuts in plastic wrap and wheel it raw to your table so you can select, a la Denny's, the kind of steak you want. It's about as elevated as a pre-packaged sandwich at your local 7-11.

And don't get me started on side dishes. If you're going to have the chutzpah to charge $40 for a steak, then I think you should do better than to plunk down a massive baked potato with a mess of side condiments on the side. Maybe that potato cost you $1 and the sour cream, bacon bits, chives and butter another $1. And maybe that filet, aside from being the dullest, least flavorful cut imaginable, cost the restaurant $6. What--no green vegetable? Oh yes, those are a la carte and will cost you extra. Are you kidding? Salads are a joke—over-dressed, and lacking any kind of finesse, salads in steakhouses is heavy and ponderous. So once you've plowed your way through a 16-ounce+ steak, and eaten your a la carte sides (there is also the bread basket with mostly bad bread), you're ready for dessert. Cheesecake is very popular at steakhouses or chocolate cake. They are invariably heavy and effortful to eat as well.

This long rant is a preamble to a cookbook I didn't think I would review. But after a dismal and expensive experience recently at Portland's most popular and obscenely expensive steakhouse, I was more than ready for the creative and delicious way that Rick Tramonto addresses the subject in his new book, STEAK WITH FRIENDS: At Home, With Rick Tramonto (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $35.00; ISBN: 978-0-7407-9257-1) with Mary Goodbody. Here's a corrective spit in the eye to mediocre steakhouses everywhere.

Tramonto enjoys a national reputation for his high-profile Chicago-based restaurants: Tru, Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, RT Sushi Bar and Lounge, is the recipient of numerous James Beard Awards, among many others. In this lavishly photographed cookbook, Tramonto provides clear and precise steps for preparing the perfect steak. Most of steak recipes here are for the outdoor grill, but he also offers his interpretations of classic steak house preparations such as Beef Wellington, Steak Diane, Steak au Poivre, and Filet Oscar. STEAK WITH FRIENDS keeps steak front and center, but there are other alternatives big in flavor and presentation: Grilled Pork Chops with Mushroom-Sausage Stuffing, Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Grilled Ramp Pesto, Grilled Chicken with Roasted Squash Salad, Cedar-Plank Salmon with Mustard and Maple and Grilled Shrimp with Garlic and Ginger.

For me the book is most interesting when it explores creative and delicious side dishes, and embellishments such as toppers, rubs and glazes (flavored butters, crusts, herb and dry spice rubs, fois gras, and bone marrow) as well as sauces, dressings, and marinades that avoid the typical overkill of the steakhouse. Salsa Verde, Creole Rémoulade, Mornay Sauce, Mignonette, Spicy Soy Marinade, and Lemon Aioli are just a small sample offered here.

Rick Tramonto's side dishes are gloriously in-yer-face big statements that match meat. Bread Pudding with Gruyère and Shitake Mushrooms, Twice-Baked Potatoes with Irish Cheddar and Truffled Mac and Cheese made me pause just before reaching for my cholesterol medications. But who could resist these brawny, yet refined sides? Turning a bit healthier, I can't wait to try Grilled Broccoli Rabe, or Roasted Beets with Charred Fennel and Orange or Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (made naughty with pancetta and an optional Bérnaise Sauce).

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Irish Cheddar

I have always found these to be crowd pleasers, whether I am making dinner for a group of friends or for Eileen and our three

boys. The potatoes are terrific alongside grilled steak or any other meat, and they can be prepared up to a day ahead of time and refrigerated before the second baking. I like Irish Cheddar with them, but any other Cheddar would be delicious, or even feta or goat cheese. Have fun with it! Serves 4

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Irish Cheddar
4 large russet potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup half-and-half
½ cup sour cream, plus additional for serving
1½ cups shredded Irish Cheddar cheese or your favorite Cheddar
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Scrub the potatoes under cold, running water, pat dry, and rub with the olive oil. Pierce several times with a fork and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, or until fork-tender. The potatoes may need a little more time, depending on their size. Remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
Let the potatoes cool until just cool enough to handle. Cut them lengthwise in half, taking care to keep the skins intact. Scoop the flesh from the skins and reserve the shells.
Force the potato flesh through the medium disk of a food mill or a ricer into a bowl. Add the half-and-half, sour cream, 1 cup of the Cheddar, the scallions, and melted butter and mix gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon or pipe the potato mixture into the empty potato skin shells. Top with the remaining ½ cup Cheddar and the Parmesan. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. (At this point, the potatoes can be loosely covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Bake the potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Top each potato half with a tablespoon of sour cream and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

—From Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto by Rick Tramonto with Mary Goodbody/Andrews McMeel Publishing

There are plenty of good starters, both hot and cold, soups, big sandwiches and salads that won't deaden the appetite, and if you've got anything left in the tank after one of these repasts, you can always go for broke with Vertical Banana Splits, Killer Chocolate Pudding, Lemon Meringue Tart, my personal favorite--Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ameretti Crust and Pepitas.

The book is also packed with lots of good advice on wines, cocktails, and other inside-chefy stuff that will make you a better cook, such as the best advice I've ever read about how to select and properly grill the perfect steak (a valuable chart for rare, medium, and medium well steaks that are thick, thicker and thickest).

The steakhouse experience should be a festive one. So instead subjecting yourself to a credit card meltdown at a cynical and arrogant meat emporium with indifferently prepared food, grab a copy of STEAK WITH FRIENDS, set a date, and grill your guests into a blissful state of steak nirvana.

Bread Pudding with Gruyère and Shiitake Mushrooms

I like to surprise my friends with savory bread puddings; most people expect bread pudding to be sweet and so this is a conversation starter. Essentially it is just another form of bread stuffing or dressing and is therefore a great way to use leftover brioche or any good, rustic bread. Have fun with the ingredients—you can add sausage or bacon to the pudding or use different herbs and other kinds of mushrooms. Let your imagination run wild! Serves 12

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
2 large leeks, white and some green parts, trimmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup white wine
12 slices brioche bread, about ½ inch thick, torn into rough 1-inch pieces
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons sherry, Madeira, brandy, or Cognac
5 large eggs

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan with 3 tablespoons of the butter.

In a large sauté pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. When melted, add the mushrooms and leeks and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until nearly all the liquid evaporates.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the bread, ½ cup of Gruyère, and ½ cup of Parmesan, and toss well. Transfer to the prepared baking pan.

In a small bowl, stir the half-and-half with the sherry. Add the eggs and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the bread. With the back of a spoon or spatula, press gently on the bread to insure that it is completely submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Top the bread pudding with the remaining ½ cup Gruyère and ½ cup Parmesan, spreading the cheese evenly. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until the pudding is golden brown. Let the pudding cool for a few minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares for serving.
Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto
by Rick Tramonto with Mary Goodbody/Andrews McMeel Publishing