breakfast

red pepper + goat cheese frittata.

On thanksgiving morning, we normally do something pastry-ish. I’m unsure why, but we rotate between a New York-style crumb coffee cake or homemade monkey bread. Thinking about this tradition on a non-Thanksgiving morning, to be honest, makes me a little sick; if only because sweet breakfast foods seem a little unnecessary on the morning you’re going to stuff yourself full of food. I may feel differently this Thursday morning; we’ll see. 

I’ve been thinking about breakfast foods to make/munch on for holidays involving either lots of food and/or guests early in the day. Obviously neither of these occasions call for you to be waking yourself up at 6 am to make sure breakfast gets done on time. The best holiday morning breakfasts are those where everyone can relax and no one has to scurry around a kitchen.

First thing: no matter how many eggs you normally stock your fridge with, you will need to buy more. This thing is huge, and it takes an astounding amount of eggs (16!). Thankfully, everything else in this recipe is in reasonable quantities. And please; I know I’ve said this in other posts, but do yourself a favor and buy fresh farm eggs if you possibly can. If there’s any dish where that makes a huge difference, it’s this one.

There are several really fantastic things about this frittata:

  • You can make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you’re ready.
  • If you make it the day of, it’s a breeze to make; even more so if you’ve pre-prepped some ingredients.
  • It’s foolproof, which is way more than I can say for the skillet versions.
  • It looks sooooooooo impressive on the table. Your guests will think you went to so much effort for them. It will be our little secret that you didn’t.

Certainly you may have people over who you know are picky or may not like red peppers, goat cheese, etc. So feel free to experiment. I have several finicky eaters who sometimes visit (and some who live here), and I think this would be a great foundation recipe to switch out ingredients. I plan to try several different versions just to see how they work.

Have a lovely brunch/holiday morning.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Bride + Groom Entertaining: Recipes for Celebrating Together. Which is, might I add, a great resource for full dinners for every season and occasion. They do the work for you in terms of putting it all together, drinks through desserts.

Red Pepper + Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 1/2 cup fine dried breadcrumbs (I used store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound small firm zucchini (courgettes) ends trimmed, coarsely grated
  • 4 large cloves of garlic (or less; you could get away with 2 if you feel like it’s too much)
  • 8 ounces soft, mild goat cheese, well chilled
  • 1 cup ditalini, tubetti, or macaroni, cooked until just al dente and tossed with 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped thinly into strips (chiffonade)
  • 16 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Trim away any white ribs from the bell pepper quarters and dice 1 1/2 of the peppers. Cut the remaining 1/2 bell pepper into narrow strips about 1 inch long to use as garnish.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously oil a 10-inch nonstick springform pan and coat it evenly with the bread crumbs, knocking out any excess.

Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When it is very hot, add the diced bell pepper and the zucchini and saute just until the vegetables have released their moisture and it has evaporate but they are still brightly colored, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook just until it releases its aroma (being careful not to burn it, gross) about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.

Crumble the goat cheese or cut it into small pieces. In a bowl, combine the cooked ditalini, goat cheese, and basil. Toss thoroughly to mix. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it gently, and spoon the goat cheese mixture into an even layer over the top.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, salt, pepper, and mustard until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the pan slowly so you don’t disturb the layers. Tap the pan gently to work out any air bubbles. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 minutes longer. Scatter the strips of bell pepper over the top and bake until it is light brown and just firm in the center, about 20-25 minutes longer. Let cook on a rack for around 20 minutes, then take a small, thin knife and loosen (gently!) the sides. Remove the springform ring.

Now! at this point, you can let the frittata cool, cover it, and refrigerate for up to overnight. For best flavor, let it return to room temperature (or warm in a low 200˚F oven) before serving. I like a combination of both: when I made mine ahead, I set it out so it unchilled for a few hours, then I put it in the low oven until i felt like it was warm enough, with excellent results.

Slide your masterpiece onto a platter (I cheat and keep it on its springform bottom…trust me. MUCH easier) and cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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