Italian Sausage and Pepper Strata

Bake up breakfast, lunch or dinner with this cheesy, eggy sausage-and-pepper casserole.
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  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes soaking and standing times)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4-6
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Ingredients

Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for the baking dish

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

2 red bell peppers, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

10 large eggs

One 12-ounce loaf rustic Italian bread, preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions

  1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the bell peppers to the skillet with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the half-and-half, Parmesan, parsley, eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Layer half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, followed by the sausage and peppers. Cover with the remaining bread cubes and pour the custard evenly over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour. (To make ahead, after adding the custard, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and then let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the plastic and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake until slightly puffed and no longer jiggly in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.