I know this might sound like something out of one of those Tiktoks of white women smearing nacho cheese all over their countertops, but here me out.

Brunch has become a recent topic of debate in my friend circle, although usually the debate is “at what time it is acceptable to eat it (should brunch exist solely between conventional breakfast and lunch times versus the nebulous 11-4 timeslot most restaurants give it)”, and not “what you eat there.”  So many brunch places cop out with a menu that’s either mostly breakfast with a few lunch items, or vice versa.  Doesn’t it make sense that a meal that claims to be a fusion of breakfast and lunch should try a little harder to lean into that gimmick?  And after seeing one brunch menu that was mostly breakfast with the option to add a side of mac and cheese, I’ve decided the perfect vehicle for my brunch agenda is pasta.  

Why pasta?  Pasta is one of those foods that is so versatile, with an almost infinite number shapes that can all play well with different types of sauces, and yet is for some reason only ever seen as being for lunch or dinner. We as a society have no problem with “breakfast for dinner,” but we can’t have it the other way around?  It’s also easy and relatively quick to cook (10 minutes to cook the pasta itself, and most of the sauces mentioned later on can either be made ahead of time or in the time it takes to bring the water to a boil), which is good since no one wants to think any harder than they have to when cooking breakfast.

So please, grab yourself a bloody mary with a whole grilled cheese shoved into the glass, and enjoy perusing the menu at my new, obnoxiously trendy brunch restaurant, BRNCH.  I can feel the uncomfortable metal chair digging into my ass already.

(Also, for the most part, these “difficulty rankings” are chosen not by the ease of making, but by how challenging they may be to wrap your head around when eating it.)

Easy Mode:

Spaghetti Carbonara

I mean, duh. Egg. Cheese. Bacon-ish pork product.  This was always meant to be breakfast. 

(Also, I haven’t quite figured out how to do the fancy carving-fork-twirl for plating yet, so enjoy the good ol’ pile.) 

Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Ravioli

Blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes already exist.  Why would this be that much more of a stretch? Homemade ravioli with a sweet lemon and ricotta filling would probably have been best, but regular old store-bought, savory ricotta-filled ones work well enough. 

Intermediate Mode:

Avocado Toast Gnocchi

Gnocchi, pan fried in brown butter and topped with toasted breadcrumbs  are the perfect combination to take on the visage of buttered toast, but in a bowl… or, maybe the way toast crumbs get in the butter after you butter the toast? I’m not gonna lie, I think I lost the plot with this one.

Could be left as-is, but for an extra boost of brunch-y-ness, turn your toast pasta into avocado toast pasta by adding avocado (duh), a poached egg (or fried if you’re as bad at poaching eggs as I am), and whatever your other favorite avocado toast accoutrements are (here I did black sesame seeds, since I don’t have everything bagel seasoning on hand).  

(While I didn’t classify this as “hard” to grasp, it is probably the hardest to make, having several components that need to come together with the right timing.)

Sausage Gravy Fettuccine 

Think fettuccine alfredo, but without the cheese.  And also there’s breakfast sausage in there.  Not that out of the ordinary, since plenty of Italian restaurants let you add sausage to pasta anyway.  

(Also, yes, my gravy set up a little in the time it took to plate and photograph.

Hard Mode:

Corned Beef Hash Ragu with Pappardelle 

I call this a Hard Mode because, well, it’s not the prettiest thing on this list.  The starch-on-starch action in the form of potatoes over pasta is bound to upset some.  The sauce took over 2 hours to reduce.  But for those who are brave enough to try it, it has all the richness of a Bolognese, but the corned beef keeps it’s trademark snappiness.

While I’m not going to tell you to drop ~$50 on a side of brisket and make your own corned beef JUST for this, I will say that you really should use fresh/real corned beef if you can.  I got mine from a deli that makes it from scratch. Just because it kinda ended up looking like the garbage from a can, doesn’t mean that that should reach for the garbage from a can as your first resort (Although maybe after you add all the other ragu ingredients it might not be as noticeable? Someone try it and @me about it.).

Speaking of availability issues, if you can’t find pappardelle/tagliatelle/other wide noodles but can find fresh lasagna sheets, you can just cut those into strips before boiling. Or you can just use egg noodles.

Sticky Bun Rigatoni

This may be the most emotionally challenging one yet, since it’s literally pasta tossed in cinnamon-sugar goo.  Release your inhibitions.  Feel the sugar goo on your skin.

Ok, but really though, look at the way the cinnamon nestles into the grooves of the rigatoni, this combination was always meant to be.  

This one can actually be dressed up 2 ways- with a drizzle of icing for cinnamon bun riggies, or with roasted nuts (walnuts or pecans would be more traditional (can you really call anything about this traditional?), but I used pistachios here because that’s what I had on hand) for sticky bun riggies, which I find actually helps break up the otherwise unending sweetness.

One thought on “Breakfast Pasta Should Be A Thing

  1. RJG says:


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