Broccolini and Cheddar Strata

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Serves 8-10

Tip: Eggs, bread and cheese are the basis for an overnight breakfast casserole, but there are several ways to enhance this dish so guests will be duly impressed with your result. One way is to choose the zestier broccolini vs. broccoli. Whole milk vs. skim will add richness. Aged cheddar vs. mild adds tangy sharpness. Great bakeries offer unique and hearty breads that, when selected over plain white bread, will boost the flavor profile. A couple of our favorites: Olive Rosemary Sourdough or Spinach Feta bread from two local bakeries.

Ingredients
12 slices “sturdy” day-old bread (see Tip for suggestions)
8 oz fresh broccolini
8 oz sharp (aged) cheddar cheese
1/4 white onion
7 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Prep
Butter a 9″x13″ glass baking dish.
Trim crusts from bread slices and cut bread into cubes. (Note: Crusts can be dried for bread crumbs to use another time.)
Wash and trim any tough parts from broccolini. Blanch for 1 minute in boiling water, then move to ice water to stop cooking and set bright green color. Drain and pat dry, then chop into fairly large pieces.
Shred cheese.
Mince onion (can be sautéed in a small amount of butter if you prefer).
Whip eggs in large bowl; add milk, dry mustard, S&P.

Directions
Cover bottom of buttered baking dish with half of the bread cubes. Layer broccolini, onions and cheese over bread; top with remaining bread cubes. Pour egg/milk mixture over layers. Cover with film wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

After refrigeration period, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake strata, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes or until table knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into squares or serve with large serving spoon.

Non-vegetarian options: 1–2 cups diced cooked ham, cooked and crumbled bacon or precooked breakfast sausage can be added to layers during assembly.

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