- One 2-pound pumpkin peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 leeks white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups stock divided
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 1 large fennel bulb chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 loaves ciabatta cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of salt on several rimmed cookie sheets. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, redistributing occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown. Remove and set aside in a mixing bowl.
In a large Dutch oven or casserole, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 5-10 minutes until the butter is incorporated and they begin to wilt. Add 1/2 cup stock, turn the flame to low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook slowly until the leeks are completely soft and beginning to turn to mush. Take the lid off and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and add to the pumpkin mixture.
In the same pot or pan, add a little olive oil, turn the heat to medium- high, and add the onion, fennel, and thyme to the pot and sauté for 10 minutes. When tender, but not caramelized, add the white wine and season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are very tender and the alcohol in the wine has burned off. Add to the pumpkin-leek mixture.
NOTE: everything up to this point can be done 1-2 days before.
The day of, combine the garlic with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat in the microwave until the oil is fragrant and infused, about 1-2 minutes. Toss the cubed ciabatta with the oil and a generous amount of salt and turn out onto several rimmed cookie sheets. Toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes—until the bread is crisp, but not completely browned.
Toss the bread together with the vegetable mixture, the eggs, stock, and parsley. Make sure it is well combined, and add any stock as necessary to make sure the bread is moist. Let stand for at least an hour so the flavors absorb. Then return to the oven and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover, and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the top is crusty and brown.