Sausage, Fontina & Bell Pepper Strata

I was one of those kids growing up who hated eggs.

I thought they were gross, weird looking, and refused to touch them.

Rather, my breakfast scramble consisted of all things carbs – pancakes, waffles, chocolate, anything fattening and not remotely healthy.

And then, like clockwork, on my 24th birthday, my world changed and I found a sudden appreciation for all things eggy.

This little number is called a strata. As fun as the name is, it tastes about a million times better. We made it for my birthday this past year, then again on Christmas for brunch. The sausage is a bit spicy, the red peppers add a ton of flavor and the gooey cheese with the browned crust on top is to-die-for. It’s filling without being too heavy or rich. Add a cup of coffee, a few slices of buttered toast, and you have, in my opinion, the best breakfast, brunch, lunch, whatevs, you could possibly ask for. BOOM, goes the dynamite.

Sausage, Fontina, and Bell Pepper Strata – from Bon Appetit, June 2009

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 1 1pound loaf Rustic French bread, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, or Pepperidge Farm Hearty White
  • 2 cups loosely packed, coarsely grated Fontina Cheese

Butter 13x9x2 ceramic or glass baking dish. Whisk first seven ingredients in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with pepper. Set aside.

Place sausage in a large, nonstick skillet, push to 1 side. Add the bell pepper on the other side of the skillet. Saute over high heat, breaking up the sausages with a fork, until the sausage is cooked through and bell peppers are brown in spots, about seven minutes.

Arrange half of the bread slices in prepared dish. Pour half of the egg mixture over. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then half of the sausage/pepper mixture. Repeat layering. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge. (Or, refrigerate overnight). Bake the strata in 350 degree oven until puffed and brown, about one hour. Cool slightly.

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