Today's recipe can best be described as what happens when pizza and a club sandwich have a baby. I think I have "baby" on the brain this week as after three adorable nephews I became an Auntie to an adorable baby girl! Both mother and baby are doing well and I am so looking forward to frilly dresses, baking cute cupcakes and tea parties in the future with this little bundle of joy!
With the family running around to ensure that mother, father and baby are all taken care of, right now we need easy meals that are tasty but uncomplicated!
This recipe uses bread instead of dough and it is layered to create a deep-dish styled "pizza bake" This recipe is adapted from Taste.com.au and I added a few extra veggies, lots of cheese and jalapenos, on this lovely little creation. That's the great thing about a recipe like this, you can use whatever ingredients you have lying about. I was going to put chopped BBQ chicken on this too but it just got so big so I didn't this time. Another little addition was sprinkling a little semolina on the bottom to give the base a bit of bit and texture too (a trick a lot of good pizza makers use to give their crust a little oomph. You will find though, just because of the sheer size and nature of this dish that it will present more like a pie than a pizza because it has more moisture and with two layers it is quite filling.
THE FIRST LAYER
Using my favourite Woll Diamond Plus Pan (32cm/13 inches) which is oven safe and has a detachable handle was great as it was the perfect size and retained heat beautifully for even cooking and also if you want to heat the base up and dry it out a little more you can but that is purely option it is great even without the extra cooking on the base.
YOU WILL NEED
10 slices of bread (you may need more or less depending on the size of your bread)
1 tablespoon semolina
1+1/4 cup pasta sauce (I used one with bacon and herbs)
1/4 chopped herbs - I used basil and oregano
110g | 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1+1/2 cup milk
100g | 3 +1/2 ounces salami or pepperoni slices
50g | 2 ounces sliced ham
300g | 10 ounces grated pizza cheese blend
1/4 onion slices
1/4 red capsicum/pepper sliced 1-2 tablespoons jalapenos
Extra fresh herbs for garnish
Extra chilli flakes
Extra finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 180C/350F and grease a 32cm/12.5" oven dish or non-stick frying pan, sprinkle the semolina over the base and then set aside.
Take a large but shallow dish and place your bread in it, add the milk and allow to soak and absorb (do not over soak the bread). As my dish was a little small I did this twice and used half the bread and milk and each time.
Arrange half (5) slices of bread over the base of the pan and spread with 1 cup of the pasta sauce.
Sprinkle with half the herbs, salami, ham and mushrooms and about a 1/4 of the cheese.
Add the second layer of soaked bread and and using a skewer, gentle poke holes through the bread.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of remaining milk and pour over the bread. Use a fork or spatula to gently push the egg mixture evenly over all the bread.
Add the remaining, herbs, mushrooms, salami, ham, pizza cheese, sliced onion, sliced capscium and jalapenos.
Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cheese has become golden brown and is bubbling a little. The edges should have crispened up too.
PURELY OPTIONAL STEP - if you have used a frying pan only to create your pizza strata bake. Pop the pan onto the stove over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the base becomes slightly browned.
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before serving and add extra fresh herbs, chilli flakes and/or finely grated Parmesan cheese if desired and enjoy!