Cetta Strata brings the best of Italian home cooking and American casseroles… sounds like a heart-warming dish to us! Fatty, crispy pancetta melds with savory mushrooms and fresh spinach before being topped with a layer of creamy cheese and sweet, floral apricot preserves. The result is a cheesy, hearty, meaty bake that has something for everyone. Cetta Strata is a layered meal that can feed everyone at the dinner party with a flavor that’s out of the stratosphere.

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  • 1/3 pound pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups multigrain bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup almonds, optional, sliced
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced


Step 1 –Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Step 2 –In a large skillet, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Step 3 –Transfer the pancetta using a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Step 4 –Reserve 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the pan, discarding the rest.

Step 5 –Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the drippings and heat over medium-high heat.

Step 6 –Add the onion, cooking until tender, about 4-6 minutes.

Step 7 –Transfer the onion to a large bowl.

Step 8 –Heat the remaining butter in the pan.

Step 9 –Add the mushrooms to the pan, cooking until tender, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 10 –Stir in the spinach to the mushrooms and cook until wilted, about 30-45 seconds.

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Step 11 –Add the bread cubes, the mushroom mixture, the pancetta, and the almonds to the onions, tossing to combine everything.

Step 12 –Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Step 13 –In a large bowl, beat the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper until blended.

Step 14 –Beat in the mascarpone cheese into the egg mixture until just blended.

Step 15 –Pour the mascarpone cheese mixture into the baking dish.

Step 16 –Sprinkle the top of the dish with the mozzarella cheese and the Asiago cheese.

Step 17 –Spoon the apricot preserves over the top of the cheese layer.

Step 18 –Cover and refrigerate the dish for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Step 19 –Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 20 –While the oven heats, transfer the strata from the fridge.

Step 21 –Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes.

Step 22 –Sprinkle the strata with the basil.

Step 23 –Let the strata stand for at least 5 minutes.

Step 24 –Serve.