Old Fashioned Tomato Bake

1/2 of a 14-inch loaf of Italian bread
4 TBS butter (I use half this amount)
1/4 tsp of basil flakes (I favour the Bart, freeze dried ones)
2 TBS oil (I use Pam nonfat spray)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 28-ounce tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 tsp of sugar
(my own additions are more basil flakes, fine seasalt, a good grinding of black pepper, some garlic powder, 1 TBS of good balsamic vinegar)

Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the basil flakes, some salt, some garlic powder and a good grinding of black pepper. heat until the butter begins to foam, and then add the bread cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the bread is golden brown. Tip out into a glass bowl and set aside. Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, basil flakes to taste, 1/2 tsp of salt, another good grinding of black pepper, some more garlic powder and the Balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, until a bit reduced.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Layer the bread and tomatoes in a casserole dish, layering first tomatoes, then bread, then tomatoes and finally bread. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Serve hot.

Note: Sometimes I add layers of cheese to this. It all depends on how I am feeling. A few handfuls of grated sharp cheddar cheese will do the trick nicely.