Have you ever had one of those work projects where the forward motion of the whole train depended on a few key people? You have great admiration and respect for these people who keep everything at work running smoothly, and the whole mojo of the project depends on their first impression? The kind of project where these key people have to rearrange their own work days, find people to cover for them, be ready to learn more skills than mere mortals can absorb in a day, and then return to their regular posts to find out what catastrophes graced their work places that still need to be cleaned up? That kind of project. At times like this, food is essential. Nothing says “you are appreciated” first thing in the morning than a home made breakfast.
The food was perfect, the project well received, and everyone is on board with the project. “nuff said.
Breakfast stratas are perfect for sharing because they can be made the night before, feed a crowd, and are simply delicious! This recipe is a combination created from a standby recipe I have used for years that frankly has way too much cheese, a few ideas found in other blogs, and the fact that I had lots and lots of asparagus on hand. As has been my bent lately, I upped the veggies and cut way back on the grated cheese. This is also the first time I tried ricotta in a strata. I had some in the fridge and it just sounded good. The ricotta turned out to be a perfect match with the asparagus as it didn’t overpower the flavor. When a dish has double asparagus in its name, you darned well better be able to taste asparagus!
Asparagus Asparagus and Sausage Strata
serves 10 to 12
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 pint skim ricotta cheese
5 green onions, sliced including greens
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 loaf french bread, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Paprika
1. Coat 13 x 9 inch pan with spray oil.
2. Cook sausages in a skillet, breaking up the meat into small bits. When the sausage is almost cooked through, move it to one side of the skillet and add the asparagus. Continue cooking until the sausage is cooked through and the asparagus just starts to brown. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, green onions, salt and pepper.
4. Prepare the strata by layering half of the bread slices in the baking pan, sprinkle with half of the sausage and asparagus mixture, and then with half of the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat layering. Slowly pour egg mixture over the layers, making sure all of the bread is moistened. Stop adding liquid when it reaches 1/2 inch below the rim of the pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
5. Bake the next morning uncovered for one hour in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Paprika.
- The amount of bread and liquid needed will depend on the type of pan you use. A metal baking pan seems to hold an endless amount of food, while the stoneware pans hold less. You may not need all of the liquid called for in the recipe.
- This is a very flexible recipe! Swapping out the asparagus for another veggie and the sausage for another meat works well.
- I bought my cheese from my favorite supermarket … the one with the huge variety of vegetables, peppers, and lentils. It wasn’t that flavorful. Next time I’ll be sure to get at least some decent cheese.