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Why You Should Eat Tortellini and Pancakes for Breakfast (Seriously.)

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Everyone has their favorite weird food combinations. That dish or snack you eat in private, or tell your friends about and have to immediately follow up with an overly enthusiastic, “No, I swear, it’s so delicious!” It might be apple slices dipped in ranch dressing or peanut butter and kimchi sandwiches. I know how it sounds and I totally understand. But I'm here to propose a new entry for this pantheon of strangely delightful dishes: Pancakes with fried eggs and tortellini. Allow me to explain.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

A few weeks ago, I came back from a two-week white water rafting adventure down the Grand Canyon with my family: 200+ miles of pure wilderness, desert heat, waterfalls, epic rapids, incredible hikes, and Milky Way–filled nights. Our head guide, Robby, cooked his favorite dish for us two nights while we were on the river—cheese tortellini in a rich tomato sauce with sausage and sauteed string beans. After 110°F+ heat, 48°F water, and a constant surge of adrenaline, this kind of hearty, comforting dinner was extremely welcome. Being a wise man, Robby always made way too much tortellini because he knew it made an excellent breakfast, too.

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The first time I saw Robby pile his pancakes with leftover tortellini, and top it with two fried eggs, I politely demurred and I even judged the poor guy. But as I watched him tuck into his breakfast and the luscious egg yolks drip down the tortellini and sausage onto a perfectly fluffy, melted-buttery pancake, I found myself licking my lips and feeling, well, how I imagine my dog feels when he watches me eat. I didn’t make the same mistake the second time around, and not only did I not regret it, I’d say it’s my new favorite breakfast.

When I posted this photo on Instagram, many of the comments I got were in the theme of “OMG you’re SO pregnant LOL.” And while it's true that I am pregnant (6 months) and can totally see how this looks like a preggo-lady weird craving meal, it’s really so much more than that: It’s a breakfast you can enjoy if you’re about to undertake an epic day (of rafting or sports, for example), it’s a new take on leftovers, and it’s an unexpected brunch you can serve friends. Most importantly, though, it’s seriously so good.

If you’re quietly judging me about this dish, I get it. Just reheating the tortellini and enjoying it on its own will be a delight too. You’re missing out, though.

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Tortellini with Sausage and Green Beans

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Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers

Tortellini with Sausage and Green Beans

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 cups green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Italian sausages, casings removed
  • Salt
  • 1 13-ounce package of cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste

Tortellini with Pancakes and Eggs

  • + Leftover portion of Tortellini with Sausage and Green Beans (use your discretion on how many this can feed)
  • + Fried egg (1 per serving)
  • + Pancake with butter (1 per serving)
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Tags: camping, pasta, breakfast, leftovers