Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

I love savory bread pudding. You can use either butternut squash or pumpkin in this recipe. This is a great winter side dish or alternative to a dressing or stuffing.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

3 pounds butternut squash and or pumpkin—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 onions
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8 ounces baguette, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups of baby spinach or kale
4 ounces thinly-sliced pancetta

Preheat the oven to 400° and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking ceramic baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes, until tender, tossing once halfway through. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half add the cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the bread and let stand for 10 minutes. Fold in the squash & spinach. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish top with grated parmesan & pancetta slices and bake for about 1 hour, until lightly golden on top. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.