Every once in a while, I wonder what to make for breakfast or early brunch and often come back to this rich, silky, and amazingly crunchy bread basket. Filled with the freshest vegetables, aromatic spices, and a luscious white Béchamel sauce made from milk and roux, it’s sure to hit all the sweet and savory notes. Like a burst of flavor and celebration on the palette, this Indian-inspired-Italian recipe highlights the perfect complement between the fresh vegetables and humble white sauce.
Italian Bread Baskets
- 1-1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- salt to taste
Vegetables for Filling:
- 1/2 cup finely chopped paneer (indian cottage-cheese)
- 1/2 cup sweet corn
- 1/2 cup red/green/yellow peppers
- 1/4 cup chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup mozzarella-cheddar blend cheese
- 6 bread slices
- 1 teaspoon oil
- fresh basil for garnish
- Heat butter in a large saucepan and allow it to melt.
- Add flour and whisk the mixture so that it becomes frothy with a slight change in color.
- Gradually whisk in milk, making sure to eliminate lumps from the mixture.
- Add in all vegetables, salt, sugar, chili flakes, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Turn off the stove to allow the mixture cool and let the flavors infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, flatten each slice of bread with a rolling pin.
- Cut the bread into round pieces using a cookie cutter (1 circle per slice of bread).
- Grease a muffin tray lightly with some oil.
- Press the bread slices into the molds until they take on rounded and cup-like shapes.
- Distribute the vegetable/sauce mixture evenly among the cups and finally grease the rim with olive oil. Top each cup with cheese.
- Bake the cups for 15 minutes at 375oF/190oC in a preheated oven.
- Once the time is up or a crispy, golden color is visible on the cups, remove the tray from the oven.
- Remove the breadbaskets from the muffin tray and let it cool on a cooling rack for an additional 5 minutes.
- Chop up basil leaves for garnish and sprinkle it over the cups.
Filling can be made the night before. You can also add other vegetables of your choice e.g. broccoli, carrots.