5 Ingredients or Fewer

Breakfast Pasta

August 24, 2021
21 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland, prop styling by Gerri Williams, food styling by Kate Buckens
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1 plus a toddler
Author Notes

I don’t know who came up with the wildly inaccurate name for “morning sickness” because if you’ve ever experienced it, you know that it isn't relegated to just the early hours of the day. That special feeling can wash over you at any hour of the day and typically spans the months that make up the first trimester. Ask any mom who has suffered, and she’ll tell you it feels like a horrible hangover, made worse by the fact that you didn't get to have the fun the night before. A big part of it is the need to always have food in your stomach to avoid nausea, but at the same time, nothing seems remotely appealing to you. Vegetables? No, thank you!

As a food stylist and recipe developer, food is all I ever think about, and having the pleasure of eating taken away from me makes the debilitating morning sickness I’ve had just that much worse. This pregnancy I also have a toddler to chase after, which adds a new level of physicality. It’s been three months of Ritz crackers, buttered toast, bagels, and ginger ale. It sounds kind of fun at first to just eat carbs and butter, but the indulgence wears off pretty quickly. And you’re just wishing that you could even bring yourself to drink a fruit smoothie or fully enjoy sugar snap pea season.

I started making this pasta out of sheer necessity. It was appealing to me at the time, it filled me up, cooked quickly, and I always had the ingredients on hand. I started calling it “Breakfast Pasta” because it’s what I’d eat for breakfast and it features an egg. But it had plenty of appearances at lunchtime and dinnertime. A big bonus is my 14-month-old loves it too, so two birds, one pasta. It starts by boiling really well salted water and cooking any shape of cut pasta. Not too al dente because we’re going for comfort here and a toddler. You drain the pasta, melt butter in the still warm pot, add the pasta back in, and toss. Then comes the sustenance and nutrition, the egg. You crack an egg into the still hot pasta and toss vigorously, the way you would when making carbonara. If the pasta was not hot enough, and the egg looked too soupy, I’d turn the burner on low to cook the egg a bit more. When you’re pregnant, they say you shouldn't eat any raw egg. In the beginning, I finished the pasta with classic freshly cracked black pepper, but it evolved into a sprinkling of everything bagel spice, which really makes this dish special.

Pregnant or not, this super-quick pasta will become your replacement for a box of mac and cheese. It’s got that satisfaction level you want and is easy enough to make when you’re feeling under the weather. —Olivia Mack McCool

What You'll Need
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 heaping cup dry short cut pasta (like shells or elbows)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon everything bagel spice
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Cook the pasta for 8 to 9 minutes, until cooked through (we like it a little past al dente for the comfort food factor).
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the pasta. Add the butter to the still hot pot, then add the drained pasta on top and toss until the butter is mostly melted.
  3. Crack the egg right into the pasta. Working quickly, stir vigorously—the egg will cook from the heat of the pasta and create a glossy sauce. If your pasta has lost too much heat and the egg still looks raw, simply cook over low heat and continue to stir until the egg has cooked a tiny bit more.
  4. Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with the everything bagel spice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle
  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • FrugalCat
  • Babette's sous chef
    Babette's sous chef
  • Kate Woodcock
    Kate Woodcock

26 Reviews

Lolli March 3, 2023
So easy and delicious!
Amanda February 26, 2023
Just generally curious, but how do you know when the egg is cooked? This pasta is delicious, but I have a weird mental block thinking that I could be eating raw egg.
Sharon February 19, 2023
Happy to see so many other add-ins and options to this ever-so-flexible yummy meal in a bowl. I adore carbonaras so without thinking I splashed cream into the egg and added minced mostly-pre-cooked bacon when folding in the eqq/cream. A teaspoon of that fabulous seasoning would not suffice for me, no, I amped that way up :-)) Great, delicious, and very much fun this recipe is!
chatperdu5 February 19, 2023
made it just now. drained the pasta but saved some of the pasta water in the pot, returned the pasta to the pot, adding the rest of the ingredients, with the addition of a dollop of lebne and parmesan cheese from the green jar. Yummo! This will be on repeat for anytime.
Michelle February 19, 2023
Sounds like a great quick meal any time of day. However, as one of the few people in the world, apparently, who actively dislikes everything bagel seasoning, I'm going to try it with za'atar and perhaps some sumac. I have a collection of spice and herb blends that I can try for variety. I love pasta but would not have thought of it for brunch, so thanks for the idea.
Ann G. February 18, 2023
This is what I grew up eating on Friday nights when we couldn’t have meat. We just called it spaghetti with butter and egg (no bagel spice), just pepper. To this day my number one comfort food dish. Looks good with a cut pasta, May have it for breakfast tomorrow.
Nadine S. February 18, 2023
This looks great and I’m sure it tastes great too!
Olivia, I suffered with morning sickness during all my pregnancies.
Finally found that ginger snap cookies calmed my stomach. I couldn’t take one more saltine cracker! Just wanted to share~
Rosalind P. February 18, 2023
This looks delicious! No one in my family would raise an eyebrow. In our house, any food works for any meal. Leftover Pizza or pot roast for breakfast. Pb&j for dinner. All good.
Volvomom January 31, 2023
I'm not a huge egg person, but the idea of butter and pasta immediately got me interested. This is absolutely delicious at any time of day!
FrugalCat January 30, 2023
I used a mix of bacon grease and butter for step 2. I called it bacon and egg pasta. The Everything Bagel seasoning is genius level.
[email protected] January 27, 2023
My mom made something similar where we would cook the pasta in butter (it was usually leftovers) and then crack an egg in the skillet and let it cook until the pasta gets a little crispy.
tom January 22, 2023
Things like bacon and parm freeze easily. A big supermarket pack of bacon ends, divided up and frozen in recipe size amounts, and then grind all of the hard cheese with a food processor and freeze that the same way.

Green peas are also a terrific add.
Babette's S. January 6, 2023
Really pretty simplistic (but good)....akin to carbonara. I do this with grits, cream of buckwheat & oatmeal, but I beat the egg very well before adding it, sometimes I add a splash of cream or half & half with the egg & beat it until fluffy. Tons of add-in possibilities...chopped scallions or chives, chervil or tarragon, finely diced ham, crumbled bacon or crumbled cooked sausage etc.
Karen January 30, 2023
Great suggestion to beat the egg first. Despite working quickly, I could see bits of scrambled egg whites in the sauce. My teen thought it tasted like buttered pasta, which is great. Simply happy to have a bit of protein in the mix!
vickiborn August 11, 2022
You probably are in no mood to hear this, but please believe that someday you will miss those days of morning sickness AND chasing the toddler! I would switch with you in a SECOND!

I hope you are feeling better…!
Olivia M. August 11, 2022
That’s so sweet :) I am no longer sick and now I have a 6 month old plus a toddler :) I love it. I’m trying to soak in every moment. I can’t believe the baby is already six months!!
Kate W. March 13, 2022
LOVE THIS PASTA!! It’s a great excuse to eat a bowl of pasta for any meal and it also works well for some picky eaters I have who are 3 & 5!
Olivia M. March 13, 2022
Totally a great way to get eggs into kids without them knowing ;)
kantcould September 5, 2021
what the hell is "everything bagel" spice?
Olivia M. September 6, 2021
It’s a blend of dried garlic, dried Onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt. You can find it at some grocery stores. Costco, Trader Joe’s both have it. It’s all the spices that they sprinkle on top of an everything bagel at a bagel shop. You could also ask your local bagel shop to sell you some. It’s very very tasty. Especially if you enjoy Everything Bagels.
Heather G. September 19, 2021
happiness in a jar :)
Olivia M. September 19, 2021
I would TOTALLY agree with that!
Volvomom January 31, 2023
In my general supermarket it was with the McCormack spices.
Heidi R. February 18, 2023
If you haven't experienced "everything bagel" mix, you are in for a *real* treat says this Brooklynite; "Everything bagels are the best bagels" is a hill I will happily die on.

(And try 'em with butter and marmalade or honey, if you like the sweet/savory thing as much as I do)
susielou September 2, 2021
Mac and Cheese with a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper is one of my go-to breakfasts.
abbas_muna September 1, 2021