If your New Year's resolution precludes you from indulging in rich foods, do not read on. But you would really be missing out, because it is all those eggs and cream that make this dish so delectable. Plus Rapini is really good for you, right?
This recipe is more labor intensive than my usual culinary undertakings, but the strata sounded so good, I couldn't resist making it. Worth all the effort! Being such carnivores at our house, it is refreshing to eat a meal so totally satisfying, yet vegetarian.
Make sure you prepare the strata the night before or early in the morning. It needs to rest in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Adapted from NY Times
- 6 cups chopped Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) leaves and florets
- olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1 whole red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup Calamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups half and half or whole milk
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 pounds (about 8 cups) corn bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (make sure your corn bread is not sweet)
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) Gruyere, grated
If you are not buying corn bread, bake your own. When cool, cut bread into one inch cubes. Place cubed corn bread (in a casual array) in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
Cut bell pepper into quarters. Either roast over flame or cook in oven at high heat until skin is bubbling. Immediately place roasted peppers in a closed container and let steam for 10 minutes or so. This will make it easier to remove the skins. Remove skins, dice pepper, and set aside.
Clean Rapini and remove thick stalks. Roughly chop tender leaves and stems. Mince garlic.
I doubled the Broccoli Rabe from the original recipe and therefore needed to cook it in two batches. Heat large pan over stove top at medium-high heat. Pour in enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Toss in half of minced garlic cook for about 30 seconds. Add 3 cups chopped Rapini. Saute for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes to pan. Cover, turn heat down to medium, cook for about 3 minutes. If there is excess liquid in pan, continue to simmer for a minute more with the lid off until the water has evaporated. Repeat again in order to cook the remaining 3 cups of Rapini.
Toss cooked Rapini in a bowl with chopped olives and bell peppers.
In another bowl, lightly whisk 8 eggs. Add half and half or milk to eggs. Whisk to mix together and make your custard. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
Spread Rapini mixture over the top of the cornbread. Add dollops of ricotta over the top of the veggies. Pour custard over the top of everything, making sure to distribute evenly. Finally, finish with grated Gruyere and more freshly ground pepper.
Cover strata and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, take strata out of fridge and allow to come to room temp. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 45-55 minutes until firm and golden brown on top.
Serves 8-10 as a main or up to 16 as a side dish