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Brunch bundle: it's gift-wrapped eggs, sausage.

Brunch bundle: It's gift-wrapped eggs, sausage

After the packages have been opened on Christmas morning, delight the family with one thing more to unwrap: this stunning, fila-swathed breakfast torta.

The torta--a baked egg and ricotta casserole chock-full of sausage, red bell pepper, zucchini, and fontina cheese--is encased in paper-thin layers of buttered fila dought, then backed again. A bright ribbon tied around it marks the festive occasion.

You can make the torta a day ahead. At the last minute, quickly wrap with fila (it doesn't take long); then bake. Fila will dry out if left standing to long.

Fila-wrapped Sausage Torta

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

10 large eggs

2 cups (1 lb.) ricotta cheese

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 medium-size (about 3/4 lb.) zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

3/4 pound fontina cheese, shredded

5 sheets (12- by 17-in.) fila dough

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Remove casings and crumble sausage into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain off and discard all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer beat eggs, ricotta, flour, baking powder, and pepper until smoothly blended. Stir in sausage mixture, zucchini, and fontina cheese. Pour into a buttered and floured 2 1/2-quart souffle dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 375| oven until top is golden grown and feels firm in center when pressed, 55 to 65 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around edge of torta; invert onto a baking sheet. (At this point, you can cover and chill a day. Let cold torta stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before wrapping.)

To arrange fila, lay 1 sheet out flat; brush lightly with butter. Overlap the narrow side of the first sheet by half with a narrow side of a second sheet to make a 24-inch-long strip; butter the second sheet.

To form the cross (see step 2), place a third sheet across the center of the 24-inch-strip with 1 narrow side extending out about 8 inches; brush lightly with butter. Overlap a fourth sheet, crossing center of the long strip, with 1 narrow side extending out in the opposite direction by the same distance (each leg of the cross should extend out about 8 inches from the center square). Brush fourth sheet lightly with butter. Brush last fila sheet with butter; set aside.

Set torta in the center of the cross. Gently lift 1 side of fila at a time up and around torta, gathering all 4 sides at top (an extra pair of hands helps). Pinch center of reserved buttered fila sheet and gently lift up; set pointed end in center of gathered top. Wrap a 1-inch strip of foil around base of fila ruffle to hold it upright.

Brush filled portion of fila with remaining butter. Using 2 wide spatulas, lift package onto a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Cut a 10-inch square of foil and loosely cup over ruffled top. Bake on lowest rack of a 375| oven for 45 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until top is golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Using spatulas, transfer package to a platter. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Photo: Christmas morning, present this edible, gift-wrapped package. A slice reveals a savory sausage-and-egg filling surrounded by layers of flaky fila

Photo: 1 pour filling into buttered and floured souffle dish to bake; cool baked torta before proceeding

Photo: 2 Lift cross of buttered fila, made by overlapping 4 fila sheets, up and over torta, gathering on top

Photo: 3 Pinch center of reserved fila sheet; invert and tuck into center of gathers to add hight

Photo: 4 Brush sides of wrapped torta with melted butter; foil strip holds the ruffle steadily upright
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipe
Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1987
Words:699
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