Strawberry, Ricotta and Basil Casserole

It’s almost a little embarrassing how excited I got when I saw gorgeous fresh strawberries and basil back in season at my farmer’s market. It means that summer is just about here! I’m obsessed with breakfast casseroles because they can really easily be put together the night before, and then just baked in the morning for brunch while Marc and I relax. I had to make one with my amazing farmer’s market finds for Memorial Day and I have to say, I think it was the best one yet!

Gorgeous farm fresh strawberries
These gorgeous farm fresh strawberries made my day. They were so vibrant and juicy and perfect for the strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole! They cut through the richness of the ricotta and custard to balance everything out.
The creamy strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole mixture.
I stirred those glorious strawberries in with fragrant basil and creamy ricotta cheese to form the filling for the strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole. All of the flavors were so bright and summery!
The assembled strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole.
I layered that luscious filling over a bottom layer of cubed bread. I used a sweet, cinnamon swirl bread. The spice from that bread really enhanced the whole strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole! Then I poured in a mixture of eggs, milk and vanilla. That custardy liquid held everything together. I let the assembled casserole sit overnight to develop flavor and let the bread soak in the liquid.
The finished strawberry balsamic sauce.
All I had to do in the morning was put the casserole in the oven and make the easy sauce while it baked! It was a simple and incredible mixture of strawberries, water, sugar and strawberry balsamic vinegar. It just needed to cook enough to thicken into a syrupy topping!

This strawberry, ricotta and basil casserole was just too good for words. The strawberries and basil made each other sing while the ricotta and custardy bread gave the dish such an incredible mouth feel. It was a fresh and bright way to bring on the unofficial start of summer! Enjoy! xoxo

Strawberry, Ricotta and Basil Casserole
Strawberry, Ricotta and Basil Casserole
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Strawberry, Ricotta and Basil Casserole
Strawberry, Ricotta and Basil Casserole
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
Ingredients
FOR THE CASSEROLE
  • 1 small loaf cinnamon swirl bread cubed
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 whole basil leaves cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC SAUCE
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Grease an 11 x 7 tray with cooking spray and layer the cubed bread in its bottom. Combine the strawberries, ricotta and basil in a large bowl and stir them all together well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan on top of the bread. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together until smooth. Pour the custard over the strawberry mixture evenly to surround it. Cover the dish and set it in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, pre-heat the oven to 350. Get the casserole out of the refrigerator and uncover it. Bake it for 40 minutes to set the custard and get the bread golden around the edges. While it bakes, prepare the sauce. Combine the strawberries, water and sugar in a saucepan and heat it over medium high heat. Let it bubble and cook for about 10 minutes to become thick and syrupy, stirring occasionally. Add the strawberry balsamic vinegar and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Take the pot off of the heat and set it aside.
  3. Let the casserole cool and set for a couple of minutes when it is done. Then cut it into the desired portions and serve immediately with the sauce on top! Enjoy!

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