This dish takes no time to put together but, beware, it has to chill for at least two hours before baking.  Then bakes for an hour.  Plan accordingly.


Mozzarella and Pesto Strata
-- basil pesto, olives and roasted red bell peppers, baked under a layer of eggs and cheese .

16 slices (3/4 inch thick) French bread (1/2 pound)
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1 cup roasted red bell peppers, (from 12-ounce jar), drained and sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches, with cooking spray. Spread one side of each bread slice with pesto. Arrange bread, pesto sides up, in bottom of baking dish, cutting slices to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with olives, bell peppers and mozzarella cheese.
Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour evenly over cheese in dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but not longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 325F.
Bake, uncovered, 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Yield:  8 servings.

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