Rach’s recipe was inspired by a traditional Tuscan recipe for this substantial side, luncheon or light supper dish. If desired for a meal, serve with a salad. Plan to allow the strata to chill overnight or for a minimum of a couple of hours before cooking for 45 minutes.
For a vegetarian-friendly meal, feel free to substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- 5-6 cups peasant bread (enough to fill a medium size casserole dish), torn or cubed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2-3 small ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 small bunch Tuscan, dinosaur or curly kale, stemmed and thinly sliced or 1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, wrung dry and separated
- A few grates of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram (1/3 palmful)
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (16 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 9 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
- Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Turn off the oven.
- Chop the vegetables and heat a large skillet with the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and sweat the veggies for a few minutes. Wilt in the kale or add the spinach. Season with nutmeg, oregano or marjoram, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook to tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Pour the mixture over the bread and add a few handfuls of cheese, about 3/4 cup. Toss to combine, transfer to a baking dish and cool.
- Beat the eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the cooled bread casserole. Cover and chill overnight or for a minimum of a couple of hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Top the casserole with a drizzle of EVOO and the remaining cheese. Bake until puffed and golden, 45 minutes.