For me, the combination of sweet and savory along with easy preparation make this Italian-inspired strata a winning dish for home cooks everywhere! It can be served for breakfast, brunch, or as a late afternoon meal.—Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, Florida
Featured In: 13x9 Brunch Recipes
- 1/3 pound pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1-1/3 cups finely chopped sweet onion
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 5 cups cubed multigrain bread
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, optional
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 carton (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- In large skillet, cook pancetta until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings, reserving 1 tablespoon in pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to drippings; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl.
- Heat remaining butter in pan. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tender. Stir in spinach; cook 30-45 seconds or until wilted.
- Add bread cubes, mushroom mixture, pancetta and, if desired, almonds to onion; toss to combine. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper until blended. Beat in mascarpone cheese just until blended; pour over bread. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and Asiago cheese; spoon preserves over top. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Remove strata from refrigerator while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with basil. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Italian Apricot-Pancetta Strata in Breakfast & Brunch Bookazine 2014, p27
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