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Playing Baked Birds in a Nest


  • 1 loaf Italian bread
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, 1 crushed and 2 chopped
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 thin slices pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • Two 15-ounce cans fire-roasted or petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup basil, torn


Serves: 4 servings


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a small pot over low heat, melt the butter with the crushed garlic clove. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of a casserole dish with some of the melted butter to keep the eggs from sticking.

Cut the loaf of bread in to 8 pieces, each about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Using a cookie cutter about an inch in diameter, cut a hole into the middle of each piece of bread. Place the pieces of bread into a casserole dish.

Using a pastry brush, brush each of the slices of bread with the melted garlic-butter then sprinkle with parsley and Parmigiano cheese.

Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour it into one of the bread holes. Repeat until all the bread nests are filled with an egg.

Being careful not to disturb the eggs in their nests, place them in the oven and bake until soft or medium-hard, 10-15 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, cook the pancetta until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.

To the same skillet, add the red onion and chopped garlic, and cook until tender. Add in the cans of tomatoes and let cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon a puddle of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of each plate. Top with 2 eggs in a nest and garnish with 1 crispy round of pancetta and some basil.