I like this rustic strata for its hearty flavor. It's also nice to have something savory along with sweeter brunch dishes like cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. —Michael Cohen, Los Angeles, California
Recommended: 50 Hearty Breakfast Casseroles
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 large eggs
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 8 cups cubed Italian bread
- Additional chopped fresh basil leaves
- Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain.
- In a large bowl, mix basil, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, pine nuts and garlic. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk and remaining oil, salt and pepper.
- In a greased 13x9-in. baking dish, layer half of the bread cubes, a third of the cheese mixture and half of the chicken. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cheese mixture. Pour egg mixture over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Remove strata from refrigerator while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional basil. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Pesto Chicken Strata in Breakfast & Brunch Bookazine 2014, p45
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