What do you usually do on days when you have no time to cook at all. I know most of the answers will be either eat out or pack back. Call me a weirdo, I don't like to do either of that. :P Not that I don't enjoy outside food, it's just that I try not to eat out if possible. I would very much prefer to make ahead a set of meal in the fridge, then I can bake it right away when I get home or ready to cook it. 30 minutes in the oven and dinner is ready! Don't we all wish we have such meals in the fridge all the time?! Well, the magic of it all is to plan ahead. Knowing that particular day will be too busy to cook, just prepare in advance. And this Baked Ratatouille Sausage Strata is one of them dishes that you can do exactly that.
Actually got this fabulous idea from Dairy Goodness. And watching the video she posted totally convinced me to try out this easy dish even though I was not planning for a busy day's meal heh heh. :P Did some modification to the recipe to suit my family's preference.
Actually I was also excited to try out my new Le Creuset's Rectangular 26 cam bake dish. Love the Dijon colour and the baking dish is much lighter compared to the cast iron pots. ;)
I am sure most of us know what is Ratatouille. But what is Strata? Strata is a family of layered casserole dishes which mainly consists of bread, eggs and cheese. Pretty much like frittata and quiche in another form. So Ratatouille Strata would consist of vegetables layered in the casserole of bread, eggs and cheese. Sounds delicious already! So let's get started!
Ingredients for Baked Ratatouille Sausage Strata (serves 4-5)
1 large zucchini
10 brown and white button mushrooms
1 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell peppers
1 large tomato
4 large eggs
150 ml fresh milk
150 ml heavy cream
4 gourmet sausages
6-8 slices wholewheat bread
150 g grated mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chicken seasoning
1/2 tsp sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Cut the vegetables, namely zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and tomato into cubes. Transfer them except the tomato, into a large mixing bowl. Add in some olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well. Then lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the vegetables in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or till it has soften. Toss in the middle of baking.
- In the meantime, grease the baking dish and slice the bread diagonally into triangles. Slice the sausages into smaller bite size pieces as well.
- Next prepare the egg custard. In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs in, pour in both milk and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper,1/2 tsp of chicken seasoning ams 1/2 tsp sugar. Whisk well and set aside for use later.
- Once the vegetables are done, remove from oven and add in the chopped tomatoes. Toss and mix with the other vegetables.
- Place a layer of bread on to the greased baking dish. Then scoop about half of the roasted mixed vegetables over the bread layer. Also gather half of the cut sausages over the vegetables.
- Repeat the same as before, place another layer of bread slices over the mixed vegetables. Then place the rest of the roasted vegetables and sausages over the second layer of bread.
- Pour the prepared custard mixture into the layered bread and vegetables.
- Lastly, top it with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Wrap the baking dish with cling wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if this is the prep ahead dish for tomorrow's dinner.
- Fast forward 24 hours, you are ready to cook the strata~! Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Remove the baking dish from the fridge while waiting for the oven to preheat and remove the cling wrap.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 38-40 minutes.
- If the cheese top is browning too fast, remove the baking dish and wrap it with aluminium foil and continue to bake. This step is actually necessary, so just prepare the aluminium foil ahead.
- Once baked, remove from oven and remove the aluminium foil.
If you cut into the dish while it is still piping hot, most of the "juices" from the vegetables will be released. So let it seat for a good 30 minutes before serving. If you can't and has to eat immediately, it's ok too! :)
Mmmm....now that looks like a perfectly baked strata don't you agree?! Check out the nice golden brown base! And that moist and eggy layers looks really inviting. :9
Such a warm and comforting dish, definitely can be served any day and not just on busy days! However I believe the step that you allow the strata to seat in the fridge which allows the bread to soak up all that custard goodness is essential. So do try to make ahead and best to let it sit overnight is best. :)
One last look of that gooey cheese and the crusty chewy golden top before I sign off. :D Hope you will try out this dish! Perhaps you can try adding eggplant which I missed out this time. I am sure it will taste even better.
In fact I will be cooking this again tomorrow for a friend and her family! Hopefully she and her family will enjoy this as much as we did! ;)
Have a good one guys and stay happy!