Italian-Style Stuffed French Toast

Italian-Style Stuffed French Toast from Breakfast for Dinner at We are not Martha

Ricotta Filling:

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 4 C (6 oz.) loosely packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 C whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil (or 1 t dried basil)
  • 1 T chopped fresh oregano (or 1 t dried oregano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

French Toast:

  • 1 loaf soft French bread, cut into 8 1-1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Homemade Marinara Sauce:

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil (or 1 t dried basil)
  • 2 t chopped fresh oregano (or 1/4 t dried oregano)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

1) Start by making the ricotta filling: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Let cool and then coarsely chop. 
2) In a small bowl, combine chopped spinach mixture, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, basil, and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
3) With a serrated knife, cut a horizontal pocket in the side of each slice of bread and gently fill with 1-2 T of ricotta filling. Press closed.
4) Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl or shallow baking dish. Heat 1 T oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one slide of bread at a time, quickly dip into egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides. Then place bread in the hot oil. Repeat with 2-3 more slices, making sure not to overload the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices, pouring more oil into the pan if you need.
5) For homemade marinara sauce: Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute.
6) Add tomatoes and their juices, 1/4 C water, herbs, salt, and pepper and stir together. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce thickens.
7) Serve french toast on a plate with marinara spooned over.

makes 8 slices of french toast