Brunch Casserole

My mom used to make a “brunch casserole” at Christmas time that was out of this world good. It was one of those egg custards with sausage over white bread topped with American cheese deals. I came across the recipe below while looking for one of my first Dallas Thanksgiving morning breakfasts. I had all the ingredients. The minute it came out of the oven still sizzling and bubbling I was immediately taken back to Marion, Ohio. It was wonderful and comforting.

It’s a great recipe. Easy to make and yields enough for a couple days breakfasts.

“Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper, and Spinach Torta Rustica” (source)

1/4-inch-thick baguette slices, cut on slight diagonal
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese, divided
3/4 cup diced drained roasted red peppers
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Place 8 baguette slices in bottom of dish; press 2 baguette slices onto each side. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach; toss until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach to strainer; cool. Squeeze spinach dry. Transfer to medium bowl.Heat same pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage. Sauté until cooked through, breaking up, about 7 minutes. Mix into spinach; mix in 1 cup cheese and peppers. Spread atop baguette slices in bottom of dish. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend.Whisk in last 4 ingredients. Pour over spinach mixture and stir lightly with fork to distribute evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over. Bake torta until puffed and golden and center is set, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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