Posted by: Elaine Sun, 13 Jun 2004, at 12:36 p.m.
The Augusta Chronicle
I can promise that if you put this delicious egg, sausage and bread casserole
together before heading off to bed, you will wake up to something good in the
The strata is much like everyone's favorite sausage and cheese breakfast
casserole. The dish takes on a Mediterranean accent when regular breakfast
sausage is replaced with Italian sausage and Cheddar cheese with Parmesan.
Further, sun dried tomatoes and fresh thyme are added, along with a topping of
Mozzarella and goat or feta cheese.
The strata is a wonderful addition to any weekend brunch, light supper or
luncheon. It can be prepared in the evening and refrigerated overnight to be
baked in the morning. Or make it early in the day and refrigerate for four hours
The recipe calls for sun dried tomatoes, which are re-hydrated easily in the
microwave. Simply place them in a microwave-safe bowl or large measuring cup and
cover with water. It will take about three minutes for the water to get hot
enough to soften the tomatoes.
Using the dry tomatoes instead of the oil-packed version saves on fat grams.
And, you can purchase sun dried tomatoes already sliced, which will save you
time and mess at the cutting board.
The tomatoes are combined with Italian sausage. Remove the casings and crumble
the sausage into a large skillet to brown.
The sausage and tomatoes are combined with cubed French bread. There's no need
to remove the crust. Just use a serrated knife to cut the bread into 1-inch
cubes. The recipe calls for 10 ounces of bread, which is about two-thirds of a
loaf, or 11/2 "twin loaves." Be sure to use soft French or Italian bread rather
than bread with a hard crust.
The custard for the strata is a combination of milk and eggs. Most recipes for
breakfast casseroles call for whole milk. To reduce fat, I'm suggesting
1-percent milk in this recipe. Skim milk makes the dish leaner, but it will lack
The recipe calls for fresh thyme, which is an easy fresh herb to use. Simply
strip the leaves from washed stems of thyme and add them to the custard mixture.
Feel free to substitute dried thyme. Simply use 1 teaspoon instead of the
tablespoon called for.
Serve your strata at brunch with a big fruit salad, or with a Caesar salad at
lunch or dinner.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, not oil-packed
12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed
3 1/2 cups 1 percent milk
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons onion salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 ounces French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 ounces crumbled goat or feta cheese, optional
In microwave, reconstitute tomatoes in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup,
covered in water, for 3 minutes. Set aside to soften, then drain well and chop.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into skillet and
cook, stirring, until done. Drain well.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine milk, eggs, thyme, onion salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add tomatoes,
sausage, bread cubes and Parmesan cheese. Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover
and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the strata, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove
from oven and sprinkle with the mozzarella and goat or feta cheese, if desired,
and bake an additional 5 minutes. Cool on a rack 5 minutes before cutting and
Makes 10 servings.
Nutritional data:(per serving - with goat cheese)
Total Fat: 17.8 g
Saturated Fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 210 mg
Sodium: 843 mg
Total Carbs: 22.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Karin Calloway is the online chef for Viking Range Corp. and a member of the
International Association of Culinary Professionals.