The Mailbox: Red velvet cheesecake’s a winner

Recently, I enjoyed another wonderful lunch at the Casa Restaurant, the community treasure located on the grounds of the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home on Sutterville Road. A red velvet cheesecake was served for dessert that afternoon and it was so tasty and light, which makes it ideal for summer.

It is a new recipe at Casa and I’m so hoping they will share their recipe, or that someone has a similar recipe to share. Thank you.

Valerie Reynoso Piotrowski, El Dorado Hills

Contact The Mailbox

If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

Breakfast casserole

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Refrigeration time: 8 hours to overnight

Mona Fandel of Seattle, Wash., lost her recipe for a breakfast casserole recipe that was in The Bee in the late 1980s. This bed and breakfast recipe included white wine, French bread and cheese; it was assembled and refrigerated overnight. Colleen Valentine of Fair Oaks shares this recipe that sounds like a match for Fandel.

4 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed

½ (1 pound) loaf day-old French bread, broken into small pieces

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 ½ cups whole milk

10 eggs

1/3 cup white wine

3 green onions, chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup sour cream

½ cup Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until evenly browned. Drain grease and set aside.

Spread bread pieces in the bottom of a 9--by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle melted butter over the bread pieces, then sprinkle in the cooked sausage. Cover with shredded cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, white wine, Dijon mustard and green onions. Season with black and red pepper. Pour the egg mixture over everything in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes beforebaking to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Then uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread sour cream over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown slightly.

Serves 8