Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

Christmas Morning Cheese Strata


For as long as I can remember, Christmas mornings were filled with presents and fun and the wonderful smells of breakfast coming from the kitchen. My dad would be in there cooking bacon and eggs, maybe pancakes and sausage, or if we had been very good, Belgium waffles. And as he would be cooking away, the rest of the family would be ripping into our gifts and yelling back and forth for him to come join us.
This year, we did something a little different.

(the night before)

A few days before Christmas, my mom and I were flipping through one of the new cookbooks that Santa had been so kind as to drop off early for my mom. It was called Radically Simple.

Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease: 325 Inspiring Recipes from Award-Winning Chef Rozanne Gold

As we were flipping through, we came across a recipe for cheese strata with spinach, Procuitto, and basil. We decided it was the perfect thing for Christmas morning. I assembled it the night before and when we got up in the morning, before opening gifts, we popped it right in the oven. It was perfectly done just as we finished with the gifts.

(toasty wonderful)

Let me tell you, this is my new favorite breakfast dish. Other than the incredibly easy assembly and cooking, it was unbelievably good. Allowing the dish to rest overnight gave the bread time to soak up all of the eggs and when it baked, it puffed up like a big souffle. It was cheesy and tasted of the salty Procuitto with that tangy kick of basil. It was really yummy. I am afraid I’ll have to throw a brunch soon just to have an excuse to make it.
However, the best part was that my dad was able to just relax and hang out all morning with us and not miss any of the unwrapping. It was a wonderful Christmas morning, and I fell in love with this recipe.

(How could we pass on pictures as pretty as this in the cookbook?)

So, I followed the recipe pretty closely. However, I changed the bread. Instead of using white bread without the crusts, I used slices of french bread and left the crusts on. Also, I didn’t have quite enough procuitto for the recipe, so, I crumbled some leftover bacon on the top. I would recommend that. It gave a nice extra texture. Also, keep an eye on the strata. We did ours in a convection oven and it was done in 45 minutes. If we had left it any longer, it would have been overdone, but it was perfect.
Enjoy the recipe!


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