¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cremini or mixed mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
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4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
salt and pepper
3 cup Marsala or dry white wine
3 cup chicken stock
1 pound farm spinach, stemmed, washed, dried and chopped
2 cups half-and-half
6 large eggs
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces, plus softened butter for the baking dish
8 slices (1-inch thick) peasant-style white bread
¾-pound Fontina Val d’Aosta or Gruyere cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
1½ to 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and dark. Stir in thyme, garlic, shallot, and salt and pepper and cook for one to two minutes. Deglaze the pan with Marsala and stir until almost completely evaporated. Pour in stock, wilt in the spinach, and turn off the heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk half-and-half with eggs, a few grates of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Soak the bread, turning occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed.
4. Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Lay four slices of bread on the bottom and top with mushrooms and spinach and half of the cheeses, followed by the remaining bread and cheese. Dot the top with butter and bake until golden, 45 minutes to one hour.
Adapted by the Austin American-Statesman from “Week in a Day” by Rachael Ray (Atria Books, $24.99).