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Panzanella Strata

Serves 6-8

Feed a crowd on a budget with this hearty brunch casserole!


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large red sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 cubanelle peppers, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, such as Fresno, jalapeño or Italian cherry, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 pint cream or half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • A small handful of basil leaves, torn or sliced
  • Butter, for baking dish and to dot top
  • 6 cups stale bread, white or peasant-style, chopped or torn, such as Amy’s white or a round peasant


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO, four turns of the pan. Add the peppers, onion, chili pepper and garlic and stir to tender-crisp, 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, cream or half-and-half, salt, pepper, half the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, parsley and basil.
  3. Arrange the bread and vegetables in the buttered casserole dish – it will mound up a bit. Pour the eggs over top of the casserole and top with remaining cheese and a few dots of butter. Cover and chill overnight or a couple of days ahead.
  4. Bring the casserole to room temperature. Bake at 375ºF for 60-75 minutes, until cooked through.