Recipe:Italian-style stuffed French toast

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

Makes 8 slices

This twist on the classic breakfast/brunch staple is made with savory garlic bread toast and a spinach-ricotta filling. It's a big, hearty, family-style meal in one package.

Adapted from "Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More!," by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth.

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces (about 4 cups loosely packed) baby spinach

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)

1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the French toast:

One 1-pound loaf of soft whole-wheat French bread, cut into eight 1 1/2-inch-thick slices

3 large eggs

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

About 2 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

For the filling:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes, just until it has wilted. Let cool, then coarsely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, lemon zest, basil and oregano, stirring until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the French toast:

Use a small serrated knife to cut a horizontal pocket in the side of each slice of bread. Carefully fill with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta mixture, then gently press to close.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and garlic powder in a shallow baking dish.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Working with one stuffed slice of bread at a time, quickly dip it into the egg mixture, turning it over to coat both sides. Transfer to the hot oil. Repeat with more slices, taking care not to crowd the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining slices, adding the remaining oil as needed.

Divide among individual plates. Spoon some of the warm marinara sauce over each portion. Serve hot.

Per slice (without sauce): 250 calories, 11 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar

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