the radical muffin kitchen hosted dinner to celebrate our new winter farmshare wherein we decorated these schnazzy cupcakes. Seems the artists were either too enamored with the art or too stuffed from supper to eat them. So although the buttermilk cake is worth a post someday, the recipe everyone has been clamoring for is the make-do casserole served up alongside the root veggie soup.
let’s call it brioche kale pasticcio, shall we? In Italian, literally, “a mess.” Yet in la buona cucina, it is something divine. In the classic Italian kitchen, veggies and béchamel would snuggle amongst themselves or with some macaroni. This version holds custard not classic white sauce and is dense with rich bread, so emerges a golden savory bread pudding bedecked with greens.
butter a large casserole dish, and set your oven to 375°.
slice and cube a heap of day old brioche. We happened to have an acquired loaf lying around; brioche ain’t cheap. Although it is incomparable for soaking and cooking, as in for French toast or this, any dry bread will do. Play with whole grains, baguettes, etc. to create varying textures of wholesomeness. Toss bread cubes in a big bowl.
melt ¾ stick of butter in a small saucepan over low flame. Add a dash of salt, pepper and paprika, and slowly pour in about a cup and a half of whole milk. Bring just to a simmer then turn off the heat. In a bowl aside, whisk together three eggs. Pour the milk/butter in a thin stream into the eggs, merrily whisking all the while.
crumble about a cup of fresh white cheese. We had some marvelous German-styled something from our CSA. Farmer’s cheese, ricotta or feta would also work well. Shred as much hard salty cheese, like parmesan (as was used) or gruyére.
dump most of the custard and half the cheese into the bread crumbs and turn turn turn until all combined. Add in the onions and kale; mix well. Turn out into the casserole, shake the pan to settle it all together and maybe give a gentle pat. Drizzle with remaining custard (dot with butter if it looks too dry), and cover with the remaining cheese.
bake until the custard is cooked through and the cheese is all melty and browning in spots. About half an hour. We used a pretty deep casserole here so the high temperature did not overcook the delicate custard. Similar recipes often call for baking in a water bath, which hasn’t proven necessary. Of course, if you are a crunchy top junkie then use a broad shallow pan and cook for less time. Keep on eye on it any which way.
it will be difficult to keep waiting diners at bay, but do let this set ten minutes or so before serving. More mouthwatering than cupcakes, apparently. Certainly, there was none left to photograph.