One 2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, divided
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 loaves ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a few rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of salt on sheets and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, redistributing occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown. Remove and set aside in a mixing bowl.
2. In a large Dutch oven or casserole, warm 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, until they begin to wilt. Add 1/2 cup stock, turn the flame to low, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leeks are completely soft and beginning to turn to mush. Remove the lid and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and add to pumpkin mixture.
3. In the same pot or pan, add a little more olive oil, turn the heat to medium-high, and add onion, fennel, and thyme. Sauté for 10 minutes until tender but not caramelized, then add wine and season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and alcohol in the wine has burned off. Add to pumpkin-leek mixture. (Note: Everything up to this point can be made 1 to 2 days ahead of time.)
4. When ready to serve, combine garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil. Heat in the microwave 1 to 2 minutes, until oil is fragrant and infused. Toss ciabatta with 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 bread is crisp but not completely browned.
5. Toss bread with vegetable mixture, applesauce, remaining stock, and parsley. Combine well and add any stock as necessary to make bread moist. Let stand for at least an hour for flavors to absorb. Then return to the oven and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes until the top is crusty and brown.
Nutrition score per serving: 181 calories, 3g fat, 33g carbs, 6g protein