This layered casserole made with bread, eggs, and cheese displays nicely on the brunch or breakfast buffet and will easily make it into your recipe rotation. You want to use day-old bread, not fresh, which will fall apart. Mix and match filling options by replacing the sausage and red pepper with ground turkey and spinach or the cheddar for Gruyère. – Serves 6
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 12 oz sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
• 1 medium white onion, chopped
• 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 cups whole milk
• 4 eggs
• 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• salt and pepper to taste
• 10 slices day-old white sandwich bread, crusts removed
• 11⁄3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it loses its pink color, about 4 minutes. Add onion and red pepper; cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a saucepan, heat milk until bubbles appear around edges.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then slowly add hot milk. Add mustard and seasonings.
Lightly butter 2-quart (8½” x 11”) glass baking dish. Line bottom with half the bread slices, trimming to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese, then top with sausage mixture, and finally the remaining bread. Slowly pour egg mixture on top. Press down gently with a spatula to submerge bread. Top with remaining cheese.
Place dish on baking sheet. Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let stand five minutes before serving.
The strata can be assembled the evening before serving; cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate until the next day, and bake per instructions.