For a reason I can't exactly pinpoint, I've been craving sun dried tomatoes like mad lately. I blame Michael Chiarello for my sudden, inexplicable craving because I saw him making a puff pastry appetizer with the sweet tomato this weekend. My go to recipe for whenever I am in need of sun dried tomatoes is a pasta one but today I'm not in the mood for pasta, I'm in the mood for a baked strata. This strata is a layered dish similar to a savory bread pudding with sausage, onions, and good mozzarella cheese. Sound, deliciously tempting or what? Throw in a simple side salad, a glass of wine, and you're good to go...for the recipe,
8 ounces Italian sausage, (about 3), casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 Cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, (if very dry, soaked in hot water and drained first)
Unsalted butter, for baking dish
8 large eggs
1 Cup milk
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 to 8 Ounces Italian bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese, (about 6 ounces)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage, stirring occasionally, and breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add onion; cook. Stirring, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer to a plate; let cool until barely warm.
- Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Arrange half the bread in a slightly overlapping layer in bottom of dish. Scatter half the sausage mixture and then half the cheese over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread, sausage, and cheese, pressing firmly. Pour egg mixture over layers. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.