Tomato Pudding
This satisfying side is made of homemade croutons, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. Penny De Los Santos

This satisfying side of homemade croutons, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese is based on one from Mary Sue Milliken. She sometimes substitutes aged Manchego cheese for the pecorino. It first appeared in our November 2013 issue with the story State of Grace.

Yield: serves 8-10


  • 1 (1-lb.) loaf country bread, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 34 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 cup chicken stock
  • 12 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped thyme
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in purée, crushed by hand
  • 1 (16-oz.) can tomato purée


  1. Heat oven to 375°. Toss bread with 1⁄2 cup oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet; spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring occasionally, until slightly crisp, 10–15 minutes; transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until golden, 5–7 minutes. Stir in stock, half the pecorino, plus sugar, lemon juice, thyme, tomatoes, and tomato purée; cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over bread; let sit until slightly cooled, then, using hands, lightly mash and stir together. Transfer to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle remaining pecorino over top and drizzle with remaining oil; bake until golden brown and bubbling, 25–30 minutes.