American breakfast often resembles dessert, but I think there’s a better way to spoil yourself in the morning: breakfast pasta. Unlike a massive pastry dripping with cream and dunked in chocolate, a bowl of pasta in the morning is a sugar crash-free meal that’ll keep you full until lunch. If you eat brunch at restaurants, odds are you’ve seen your share of breakfast pasta on menus, but what about when you’re cooking at home? I checked in with four pasta experts to see what they would recommend to home cooks.
“In the cold winter months I love to cook a hearty breakfast pasta for my kids,” says Jonathon Sawyer, a chef and owner of The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, and Trentina in Cleveland. “This started because my kids don't do breakfast. Both of them have somehow decided that they would rather have dinner for breakfast.” Sawyer and his wife realized they could incorporate the ingredients their kids wanted to eat into breakfast dishes. The Sawyers started making a sausage, biscuits, and gravy pasta at home, and they liked it so much the dish made its way onto The Greenhouse Tavern's brunch menu.
Chef Marco Canora of Hearth in Manhattan also likes to incorporate pasta into a breakfast dish. While he would never set out to cook a fresh batch of pasta in the morning, Canora says that “making a frittata out of cold leftover pasta is an amazing thing.” Joy Wilson of the blog Joy the Baker shared a variation on a pasta frittata with Extra Crispy earlier this year. She calls it a pasta quiche: just arrange cooked, sauce-coated pasta in a greased skillet or pie pan and pour in beaten eggs and cream seasoned with herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375º until the eggs are set.
Filled pastas are also a great option for breakfast. “If you’re looking for a fresh and creative spin on a classic American breakfast, I would recommend fried eggs with [our] cheese and uncured bacon ravioli,” says Giovanni Rana, founder of the pasta company Giovanni Rana. “The flavor combination of the egg yolk, bacon and pasta come together for a savory and satisfying morning meal.”
Missy Robbins, chef and owner of Lilia in Brooklyn, doesn’t feel the need to put a “breakfast-y” spin on pasta when she makes it in the morning. Like Rana, Robbins appreciates American flavors in a breakfast pasta, but she feels no need to stray from a classic Italian dish. “Hands down, the only way to do breakfast pasta is to make carbonara,” Robbins says. When you think about it, carbonara is essentially a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich in another form.