Monday, January 9, 2012

Spinach and Pancetta Strata

Spinach and Pancetta Strata

Serves 12.

I changed a few things around from Giada's original recipe, and I think it's the perfect amounts of everything now.  (Her original recipe is linked below.)  This is a great breakfast casserole.  It was served to me somewhere recently and I had to get the recipe! 
Adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis

2 T olive oil
6 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 (10-oz.) boxes chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
10 c. cubed Italian bread, from a 1-pound loaf
1 c. shredded white cheese blend (or other white cheese of your choice, i.e. fontina, muenster, havarti, etc.)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan 
3 cups whole milk
15 large eggs

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a bowl. Add the onion to the pan drippings in the same skillet and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, nutmeg, and the cooked pancetta.

Place the bread cubes in a large rectangular buttered baking dish. Top with the spinach mixture.  Whisk the milk, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over the strata. Top with shredded cheeses.  Chill the strata, at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.  (I chilled for almost 24 hours and it was fine.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake strata uncovered until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, about 60 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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