Strata is essentially bread pudding, only with savory flavors — cheese, meat, herbs, veggies, etc — instead of sweet. This cheesy, hearty dish is special enough for a holiday, but fast and easy to make, so you won’t miss out on the festivities. There are a lot of variations of this dish, and you can add any sauteed veggies or some browned sausage if you like, but this is the simplest version:
Whisk 2 cups milk (whole or 2%), 5 eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and the juice of half a lemon. Cut a baguette or Ciabatta bread into cubes (about 12 oz, or 6 cups) and place into a greased baking dish (I rub it with a buttered paper towel). Chop about 2 cups of arugula (or basil, parsley, spinach) and sprinkle over the bread. Pour the egg mixture on top of the bread and press down so the bread starts to soak up the egg. Let sit for at least 15 minutes then use your hands to gently stir the mixture again (the bread should be soaked — if there are dry pieces still and the liquid is all soaked up, add another beaten egg. If the mixture seems too wet, press in a few more bread cubes before baking). Then cover with grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) and some shreds or slices of sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup) and bake at 350 until the top is browned and the center is no longer liquidy, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then serve with a side of fresh fruit, sausage, or both.
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