Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

By Bree, Baked Bree

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

This time of year means lots of entertaining at my house. I want to spend time with my guests, and not in the kitchen playing short order cook. To ensure that I can also be a guest, I have a handful of tried-and-true recipes up my sleeve that require little to no hands on time when I need to serve them. One of my biggest entertaining tricks is to break out the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

I prefer to have brunch over dinner because I feel like it is more casual and people can come and go as they need to. It is less expensive, and I can take a lot of help from my local bakery if I don’t have time to make my own breads and pastries. Most dishes can also be served at room temperature, like this slow cooker egg casserole.

This recipe is an incredible base, you can adjust the seasonings, cheeses and vegetables to create something new every time. I have made so many versions of this casserole over the years. It always comes out perfectly and is so easy to whip up.

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

This version is an Italian one and calls for one of my favorite (and in my opinion underused) cheeses – fontina.

I like to add a fresh element to anything that has been slow cooked, at the very least some fresh herbs. For this casserole, I made a quick checca. Checca is like an Italian salsa. It adds brightness and punch to the casserole and really makes it special. A sprinkle of grated Wisconsin parmesan and brunch is served.

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

Tip: You can also use refrigerated hash browns or diced potatoes in place of the sliced Yukon Gold potatoes.

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca | Wisconsin Cheese Talk

Slow Cooker Italian Breakfast Casserole with Tomato Checca
By Bree, Baked Bree
 
Servings: 6-8
 
Ingredients:
 
For Casserole:
12 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 can (8 1/2 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
2 sweet Italian sausage links, cooked and sliced
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
 
For Checca:
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup (about 1 ounce) Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated
 
Cooking Directions:
 
Line sides of 4 to 5-quart slow cooker with foil, spray with cooking spray.
 
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper until well combined. Stir in fontina and parsley. Set aside.
 
Line bottom of slow cooker with potato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Top with artichoke hearts, sausage and peppers.
 
Pour egg mixture over. Gently press layered ingredients down to make sure liquid mixture has reached bottom of cooker.
 
Cover top of slow cooker with layer of paper towels; place cooker lid over to cover tightly. Cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours, or HIGH 3 hours, until potatoes are tender and eggs are set. Let casserole sit 5 minutes before serving.
 
For checca: Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and parsley. Top casserole with checca and sprinkle parmesan over. Serve immediately.
 

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