Breakfast Lovers Recipe: Bacon, Pesto, and Pasta Frittata

Inviting some pals over to hang out can quickly turn stressful when you realize they’re going to expect some food. Before you reach for your phone to order delivery, take a few deep breaths. Homemade eats don’t have to be difficult. With original recipes from our Everyday Appetizers series, you can pull off showstopping starters without losing your cool. 

There might not be any scientific proof to back this, but we think everything tastes better when given the breakfast treatment. It’s true for sandwiches, tortilla chips, and even leftover pasta. The next time you find yourself wondering whether or not you should toss your extra noodles, make this easy frittata, call some friends, and kick back with a few drinks.

About this recipe

frittata made with basil pesto, spaghetti, and bacon

Bacon, pesto, and pasta frittata | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

In addition to being a clever way to pass off your leftovers as acceptable snack food, pasta frittatas can also serve a crowd. This is great for when you want to entertain a slightly larger group of people without devoting any more time to kitchen work. You can stretch this dish even further if you cut it into small squares and set out some cheese, cured meats, and bread. Either way, you’ll be eating well without breaking a sweat.

This recipe assumes leftover pasta, but you can start completely from scratch if you don’t have any on hand. Just drain the noodles, give them a rinse with cold water, and let them dry off a bit before proceeding. You can do this while you cook the bacon, which we like to cut into small squares for more even cooking. Just make sure to stir them regularly. Also remember to reserve the skillet with some of the bacon grease to cook the frittata itself.

The bacon adds just enough smoky flavor to the background of this egg dish, but the predominant flavor will be the basil pesto. This means you can easily leave out the bacon if you want to keep the frittata vegetarian. If you go this route, add a slick of canola or vegetable oil to the skillet.

Once you have your cooked bacon and pasta, things go really fast. We opted for jarred pesto, but you can absolutely make your own. If you ever find yourself with an overload of basil, it’s actually a really smart move since the sauce freezes extremely well. Whichever option you choose, the method is the same. Simply toss the pasta with the pesto, bacon, and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. Stir in the eggs and some basil, then head back to the stove.

If you’re using a cast-iron pan, you’ll need to give it a bit of time to properly heat before adding the eggs. Don’t be tempted to crank tit over high or you’ll just end up with burnt edges before the dish finishes baking in the oven. Once you add your eggs, don’t touch them for at least 3 minutes. When you start to see the edges coagulating, check to see if the bottom is cooked. Once the underside is set, transfer the skillet to the oven. As soon as the center is set with no liquid egg remaining, the frittata’s done. Devour with your drink of choice.

Italian flavors are on full display in this recipe, so that can help determine your wine choices. Matching Food & Wine recommended pairing pesto with Verdicchio, an Italian white that’s crisp with light citrus flavors. Sauvignon Blanc would also be a good choice. If you prefer red wines, IntoWine.com said Bordeaux or anything else with a hefty amount of Cabernet Franc will work well with pesto dishes.

Beer drinkers should go for something pretty quaffable that still has enough character to stand up to the weightiness of the cheese, bacon, and herbs. Serious Eats said pilsners have a just enough bitterness to do the trick. Another option is saison, which the Los Angeles Times recommended when eating just about any type of frittata.

For cocktails, nothing says breakfast like orange juice and the citrus also goes beautifully with basil. For those who like a little bit of bitterness in their drinks, try a recipe that pairs orange and Campari. Those planning to entertain a crowd should go for the ease of punch with a crowd-pleasing take on a whiskey sour.

Bacon, Pesto, and Pasta Frittata

bacon, pesto, and pasta frittata cut into wedges

Sliced bacon, pesto, and pasta frittata | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

We used spaghetti for this recipe, but any cut of pasta will work. Longer noodles will need a rough chop first, but small shapes are good to go. This dish makes enough to serve 8.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into small squares
  • 3 cups cooked pasta, chopped if noodles are long
  • ½ cup prepared pesto
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced basil, plus more

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add bacon to a large cast-iron skillet or another heavy, ovenproof skillet and set pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1½ tablespoons of fat from skillet, remove from heat, and reserve.

In a medium bowl, toss pasta with pesto, bacon, and cheese to combine. Stir in eggs and 3 tablespoons basil. Season lightly with salt. You may not need any depending on your specific bacon and pesto, so taste both before deciding to bump up the seasoning.

Heat reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add egg mixture and cook until bottom is set, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake until set, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, garnish with additional basil, slice, and serve.

See you back here next week.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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