Pizza Egg Bake

No matter how old you are, you probably have a memory of eating pizza for breakfast. While I no longer indulge in such juvenile adventures, I remember them vividly. They began during college (little pizza in my childhood as my parents thought it was junk food) when waking too late to make it to dining hall breakfast, we’d grab now-stiff slices out of a cardboard box and shove them down our throats as we ran or biked to class with little hope of making it on time. Was there alcohol involved? Well. Years later, I won’t say I never repeated the scenario after getting my own kids off to school and running for the car to get to my own teaching or library job. My kids would not have been happy at my snarfing down their favorite leftovers with little thought. Somehow I don’t remember it ever coming up, but I’ll bet it did.

Today’s recipe and post does away with the need for such disgusting (ok, fun) breakfasts because I’m here to sell you on my newest morning recipe deal. And cold it ain’t. Casserole, strata, egg bake, brunch dish, whatever you want to call it. You might be like me and have a favorite egg casserole you’ve been making for years and, if you do, good on you. Keep making it; everyone loves it. But just once, give this new very pizza-ish oh-so-crispy version a chance. I promise you’ll be glad you did. It is the stuff of many pleasurable brunches to come.

Jump to Recipe

Instead of bacon or breakfast sausage along with the ubiquitous eggs, milk and bread, there’s savory Italian sausage (sweet or hot-your choice), yummy sautéed onions, peppers, and garlic, lots of gooey mozzarella cheese instead of orangey Cheddar –and the happy Italian-ish seasonings everyone’s got in their cupboard, oregano and basil. On top are fresh onions, peppers, and mushrooms added just before baking. Perky olives and tomato sauce are added at serving time not only because they taste great, but because they’re beautiful. Of course there are little bowls of Parmigiano-Regiano and crushed red pepper flakes passed at the table, just like at the pizza place down the street. The recipe police stopped somewhere else this morning, so no worries about changing it up to suit your own druthers; isn’t that what pizza’s all about? Leave the fresh onions and peppers off half for the kids maybe. I won’t tell if you slip in a few diced anchovies instead of olives or add 3 extra mushrooms. You might use half ham and half sausage, right? Or toss in veggie crumbles instead. And could you buy a jar of marinara at the grocery? Sure; I’ll write you a note. But do try making your own sometime. It’s quick, painless, feisty, and tastes way better. Honest engine.

Got folks coming over the holidays? This makes 10-12 servings (or maybe a couple more if you cut smaller pieces) and if someone’s bringing muffins, another’s cutting up a a fruit salad, and that non-cook is toting in a big bag of mimosa fixings, the meal is complete. I’m betting they’ll ask for the recipe before they leave, so have one all printed out for them. I’ve never said THAT before, have I?

Shown here with sautéed potatoes and fresh fruit.

Here are a few pix to get you started….Yes, you’ll need to cook a couple of things before stirring it all together. It’s all easy, though.

While it takes not too awfully much time to throw together, for best results you will need to make my breakfast pizza egg bake the night before or at least a couple of hours ahead when you try this for friends or family or both:

Why make ahead if at all possible? The bread needs time to absorb the milk and eggs.

Pizza Egg Bake

Anyone who cooks breakfast for a crowd has their eye on stratas, egg casseroles, egg bakes – whatever you want to call them. I’ve made these filling casseroles any which way but loose over the years, but this newest one with its fun pizza flavors, will, I think, be one of your favorites for fall or the holidays. Pizza for breakfast? Of course!! I include an easy recipe for tomato sauce, but you can also use your own favorite or grab a jar at the store. For a smaller 2-qt casserole, cut ingredients down by 1/3 (6 eggs, 6 slices bread, 2 cups milk, etc), and reduce baking time to 45-50 min.
10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup each chopped onion and sweet red bell pepper- plus a little extra of each for garnish
  • 1 large plump clove garlic, minced
  • 4 links Italian sausage- about a pound
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper-plus extra to pass at the table
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: dry mustard, dried basil, and dried oregano
  • 8 slices crusty bread-about 4 cups, diced into 1-inch pieces – -a little stale is best, but any will work
  • 2 cups (8-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (not fresh mozzarella)
  • 3 large, sliced button mushrooms for garnish
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 cups prepared tomato sauce –recipe below if needed, and sliced olives for serving (all optional)

Instructions

  • PREP: Grease or spray a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  • SAUTÉ THE ONIONS AND SWEET BELL PEPPERS over medium heat in a medium/large skillet drizzled with a tablespoon of olive oil until nearly tender. (Leave the extra tablespoon or two of onions and peppers uncooked for garnish.) Cover to decrease cooking time. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  • COOK THE ITALIAN SAUSAGE in the same skillet (add a little more olive oil) until well-browned and cooked-through. Drain, cool briefly, and chop into ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
  • WHISK TOGETHER the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, dry mustard, dried basil, and dried oregano in a large bowl. STIR IN THE DICED BREAD, reserved cooked onions, peppers, garlic, and the cooked sausage.
  • POUR EGG MIXTURE into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Push the cheese down into the egg mixture with a table fork, leaving a little cheese visible on top.
  • TOP WITH THE MUSHROOMS and reserved fresh onion and peppers. Add a last grind or two of black pepper over the dish. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight or at least for a couple of hours. In a real pinch, let the casserole sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking; it’ll still eat!
  • THE NEXT MORNING, preheat the oven with a rack at center to 375 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge, uncover, and let sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake 60-70 minutes or until well-browned and crispy on both the bottom and the top with the center just barely set. If browning too quickly and not getting done at center, cover with aluminum foil for 5-10 min. Remove to potholders on the counter or board (do not place on stove top as these glass baking dishes can break) and let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, marinara sauce, sliced olives, and the reserved crushed red pepper, if using.
  • Store leftovers well-wrapped in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze individual servings and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating over low flame in a small covered skillet or in the microwave.

Notes

TOMATO SAUCE:  You can also use a 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tablespoon each: olive oil and butter
  • 2 tablespoons each: minced yellow onion, carrot, and celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (1/2 teaspoon dry)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Large plump clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (5 medium) ripe tomatoes cut into small dice
  • Pinch granulated sugar
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium flame. Add onion, celery, carrot, and rosemary. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or until softened, adding garlic for the last minute. Stir in chopped tomatoes with their juices along with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and the pinch of granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust seasonings.  (Can be made a day ahead, cooled, and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2022. All rights reserved.
An even simpler tomato sauce could be made using only a little onion, salt, and pepper with the tomatoes and oil with butter.

If you liked this, you might also like my Christmas Breakfast Casserole with a Za’atar Bloody Mary.

LIFE GOES ON:

Our big boy returns ….

Nursing covid (yes, it finally got both of us), I can’t promise this post makes the sense it’s meant to. Perhaps I’ll let it sit and perk another day or two and edit again when my eyes are clear and I can sit up straight in my chair. Insert crossed eyes. Or maybe I’ll send it off on a wing and a prayer.

BTW, need a new series? Watch “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” on Netflix. Done so well and very entertaining:

Brilliant attorney Woo Young-woo tackles challenges in the courtroom and beyond as a newbie at a top law firm and a woman on the autism spectrum.

Thanks for keeping me company in my easy chair. I’ve cooked nothing but a small pot of chicken rice soup in the past several days. Keep this easy-fast healing goodness recipe in your pocket for when you or a friend is feeling low or sad. It works. While not well, we both just feel so much better after eating it. What is it about chicken soup anyway?

Hope you’re enjoying fall; I can’t wait to get out again.

Alyce

I’ve re-done my spare bedroom office over the past few weeks… I’m happy with my desk arrangement and can even grab a nap if the blog has worn me out. My prayer shawl stays on my chair–keeping me loved and cared for as I work. write.

One thought on “Pizza Egg Bake

  1. Pingback: Pizza Egg Bake — More Time at the Table | My Meals are on Wheels

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