Creamy Pasta Frittata with Bacon, Asparagus and Goat Cheese is a delicious breakfast or brunch centerpiece, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar it makes a light and elegant dinner entree.
When I was asked to create a recipe using Hatfield Quality Meats bacon, I was immediately intrigued by their Cherrywood Extra Thick Cut Triple Smoked Bacon. As far as I am concerned, the thicker the better when it comes to bacon (having said that, their Classic Sliced Bacon would work fine in this recipe too if thinner is what floats your boat). And having always loved apple-wood smoked bacon, I could not help but be curious about cherrywood.
Delicious. Man, I love bacon.
For me personally, when I hear Easter, I think eggs. So, when I was thinking of a recipe that features Hatfield® bacon, my first thought was quiche, and indeed this dish is heavily influenced by quiche, but since returning home from Italy, I have been obsessed with pasta frittata. Now in Italy, from what I saw, some form of tomato is often included in the pasta frittata (such as tomato sauce or paste), but I wanted cream to emphasize the similarity to quiche, which just strikes me as more of an Easter brunch dish. So, think of this as a hybrid. A delicious fusion of the two.
One of the great purposes of frittatas is, of course, to use up leftovers. Now as it happened, I did not use leftovers for this dish because I was creating the recipe. But the pasta, roasted asparagus or bacon could all be leftover or made in advance (although be sure to reserve the bacon grease, which I always do anyway–it lasts forever in an airtight container in the freezer). For that matter, the mushrooms could also be cooked in advance, although it would be rare for me to have just plain sautéed mushrooms leftover. And if it seems like too much, get rid of the mushrooms. Personally, I like rustic one pot dishes brimming with veggies, and mushrooms harmonize perfectly here.
If I had to guess, the Aceto Balsamico (balsamic vinegar in Italian–and I spell it that way because you want to make sure to be using a good quality balsamico here) might strike some of you as odd. First, if it just seems too weird, have the pasta frittata without it. It is delicious either way. But second, don’t be too quick to write it off! The syrupy sweet and sour balsamic is a perfect counterpoint to the smoky, salty bacon and relatively bland eggs. All four of us preferred the balsamic vinegar on the frittata.
Delicious on its own, this quiche-frittata hybrid is even better drizzled with a good quality balsamic vinegar.
Any of the pasta, bacon or asparagus can be made in advance and leftovers used, in which case note that you should reserve the bacon grease after cooking the bacon. The instructions assume that you are making all of the components for this dish.
If you are adapting or substituting in this dish, I highly recommend adding the bacon and green onions close to last. The green onions so they do not cook much, and the bacon so that it is only partially covered by the eggs, and therefore stays crispier.
- 3 oz dried pasta, cooked in salted boiling water
- about 10 oz untrimmed asparagus, bottom ends trimmed, roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 T Balsamic vinegar, divided (basic, inexpensive balsamic is what you want here)
- 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and roughly chopped, such as Hatfield Quality Meats Cherrywood Smoked Extra Thick Cut Triple Smoked Bacon
- 3/4 cup water
- 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1-2 T reserved bacon grease
- 3 green onions, chopped, whites and greens separated
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
- flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Good quality Aceto Balsamico for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Begin by starting the water boiling for the pasta. While the pasta cooks, begin the asparagus. When the pasta is done, rinse briefly with cold water to prevent sticking.
Clean the asparagus and break off the bottom ends. Gently pat dry, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the asparagus until it is browned and tender. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of inexpensive balsamic vinegar. Let it cool for a minute or 2, and then remove to a cutting board and cut into bite sized pieces.
When the asparagus is done, lower the oven temperature to 350 F.
While the pasta is cooking and the asparagus is roasting, fry the bacon in batches in a cast iron (enameled is fine) 12-inch skillet. Periodically drain the pan of bacon grease and reserve the grease in a small bowl.
When the bacon is done, add 3/4 cup water and 1-2 tablespoons inexpensive balsamic vinegar to the pan to deglaze it and scrape up all of the yummy bacon bits. Let the water boil off.
When the water is mostly evaporated, add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Add a teaspoon or 2 of bacon grease. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked.
Toward the end, add the chopped whites of the green onions to the mushrooms and fry them a bit.
While the mushrooms are cooking, place the eggs and cream in a deep bowl. I used the whisk attachment of an immersion blender; whatever you use, vigorously whisk the eggs and cream until they have lightened and thickened a bit. Whisk in a pinch of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.
When the mushrooms are finishing cooking, use a heat-proof brush to brush bacon grease around the sides of the skillet. Add a tad more grease to the pan if the mushrooms seem dry.
Spread the cooked pasta over the mushrooms.
Sprinkle the roasted asparagus evenly over the pasta.
Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese evenly over the asparagus.
Sprinkle the chopped bacon over the asparagus and goat cheese evenly.
Sprinkle 2/3 of the remaining chopped green onions over the bacon, and then pour the whisked eggs and cream over everything.
Sprinkle the frittata with flaky sea salt and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the eggs are set, the edges are puffy and coming away from the edges of the pan, and a knife inserted into the center of the frittata comes out mostly clean (try to avoid the goat cheese blobs).
Sprinkle the remaining green onions over the frittata.
Let the frittata set for 5 minutes before slicing.
Drizzle with a high quality Aceto Balsamico if desired.
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