This dish is absolutely wonderful. It's a cross between bread pudding and lasagna. You can serve it with meat or fish or on it's own. I served it with a nice green salad. It's from Lidia Bastianch's book. She's one fantastic chef. She says you can serve it for brunch, also. And top it with an egg fried in olive oil! My dad used to eat his eggs this way.Delicioso!
Chop the tomatoes in a food processor, using on and off pulses. Don't over process or you'll incorporate too much air and the tomatoes will turn pink. Stir in 1 tsp. salt
In small pan, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Lower bread slices one by one into the boiling water for a second or two, just long enough to wet them. (I found it easier to either spray the bread slices or sprinkle them with water) Place them on a kitchen towel on the counter to drain. Press the moistened bread lightly to remove excess water.
In large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. of the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook,stirring til golden,a bout 8 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and bring to a boil.Reduce heat so sauce is simmering and cook til slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in oregano and cook for 5 minutes more.
Preheat oven to 375. Oil an 11 inch oval baking dish or an equivalent baking dish, with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Spoon enough of the tomato sauce to coat the bottom and arrange half of the bread slices over the sauce, tearing them and wedging them as needed to make an even layer. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the bread and sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the sauce. Make another layer of the remaining bread slices, tomato sauce and cheese. Bake til casserole is heated through and the cheese is browned, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.