This hearty casserole is great for brunch or a main meal. Serve with a fruit or green salad for a simple yet delicious meal.
Grease a 9 x 13 (3 L) baking dish.
In large non-stick skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Add onion and red pepper to the drippings in same skillet and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat eggs well with seasonings. Stir in milk. Spread ½ of the bread cubes in baking dish. Layer with ½ each onion mixture, pancetta and shredded cheese. Top evenly with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes, onion mixture and pancetta. Pour egg mixture evenly over top; press bread cubes down lightly. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350°F (180°C) oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into square to serve.
Variation: Substitute regular bacon or ham for the pancetta and use whole wheat bread in place of Italian bread. Feel free to use one type of cheese instead of a blend.
Tip: Reduce the fat content by using all low-fat cheeses and low-fat milk.