For Your Consideration: Breakfast Pasta

for your consideration

Welcome to For Your Consideration, a new series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.

I. We’ve all heard of breakfast for dinner, but what about its lesser-acknowledged cousin: dinner for breakfast? Specifically, pasta for breakfast. I’m not talking a pasta that seems inherently breakfasty. I mean something like straight-up clam pasta for breakfast. Do you ever wake up and think “wow I could crush some lil clams swimming in a bed of linguine, lemon, white wine, butter, and parmesan right now?” Then do you stop yourself and say “it’s 9 a.m. you can’t eat clam pasta right now?” Well, I am here to tell you that you most certainly can. Cacio e pepe before noon? Hell yes. A little rise-and-shine tagliatelle with pork meatballs? Mac and cheese in the a.m.? You, my friend, can have it all. Breakfast is a social construct!!!!!

II. I like to be alone in the kitchen, just me and my ingredients and whatever memories and associations I’ve affixed to whatever I’m making. Making saag paneer reminds me of Chicago and of falling in love and of a red-orange couch that wasn’t very comfortable but I spent a lot of time on it anyway. Making fried chicken reminds me of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and a haunted house with peeling murals on its walls and The Good Wife.

III. Making clam pasta reminds me of my first apartment in Brooklyn. And of sunrises. (No wonder I crave clam pasta in the morning.)

IV. I don’t like to eat alone. I don’t like to cook for one, so I rarely do it. Even when I was Chronically Single in Chicago (future title of a shitty short story?), I cooked for my roommates, partially as a form of in-kind payment for the seven months they let me live with them for free. Partially because it’s the only way I know how to cook: for more than just myself.

1 box of pasta (linguine seems to be the standard, but I’ll use anything with strong sauce retention, like fusilli or rotini)
2 cans of chopped clams
1 chopped shallot
just a whole lot of chopped garlic (there can never be too much)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 splash of white wine
panko or breadcrumbs
shredded parmesan
red pepper flakes

cook the pasta

meanwhile, add butter, olive oil, the clams in their sauce, white wine, shallot, and garlic to a pan over medium heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes

combine the pasta and the sauce and top with panko/breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes

here’s a tip: buy the four-packs of canned clams every once in a while at the grocery store so you can have the clams on hand in your pantry, ready for the next time you wake up craving seafood and pasta.

VI. I used to follow recipes. I used to adhere to rigid structure when it comes to cooking, as I do with most things in life. But somewhere along the way, the kitchen became the one place where I let go, the one place where I didn’t crave rules. I started making multiple cuisines at once, started writing my own recipes and then quickly forgetting them in favor of a new twist. I also started making pasta for breakfast.

VII. When Cynthia Nixon ordered a cinnamon raisin bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato, and onion the week of her (tragically) unsuccessful bid for New York’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, people lost their goddamn minds. Perhaps the haters collectively forgot about the long-established truth that a salty-sweet flavor combination excites the palate. Perhaps it was just a very meme-able moment. But *extremely Carrie Bradshaw voice* I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would police another person’s breakfast choices? We crave what we crave. And cravings are inherently irrepressible. Food preferences feel more intimate, more ingrained than anything like musical or movie tastes. It’s a preference that’s of the body.

VIII. Just eat whatever the fuck you want for breakfast.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 842 articles for us.


  1. I salute this post. When I was in Turkey it was socially acceptable to have feta salad for breakfast, and it gradually came to be the best food season of my life.

    • oh man Turkish breakfasts are amazing. Cucumbers and tomatoes and black olives and feta and ahhhhh. Menemen is pretty glorious too

      • There‘s a Turkish Breakfastplace around the corner that serves their menemen in a small copper pan with fresh and hot Turkish bread.<3

  2. This reminds me of a time when I was around 6 and was constantly reading the children’s book ‘More Spaghetti, I Say!’. One morning before school I was so possessed by the idea of eating spaghetti like the characters in the book that I refused to eat cereal and somehow convinced Mum to cook me a giant bowl of spaghetti for breakfast instead. More spaghetti I say!

  3. It’s not quite pasta, but I’m sure most of us have eaten pizza for breakfast. It isn’t much different.

    • Coincidently I had pizza for breakfast this morning and yesterday had pasta with vegetables and marinara sauce for breakfast.

  4. Hands down the best breakfast is leftover pizza.

    HOWEVER my girlfriend has now taken this to the next level in that she (hand)makes bigger pizzas now with the sole purpose that there will be pizza for breakfast.

    Intentional breakfast pizza, if you will

  5. I’ve had spaghetti carbonara for breakfast many times…
    Just This week I had frozen lasagna for breakfast

  6. i’m with you, as long as it’s leftovers! i don’t even want to make dinner for dinner you know, so dinner for breakfast must but limited to reheating pasta.

  7. I really appreciate this as someone who recently said “yeah sure i COULD make eggs, butter toast, locate the coffee and fry bacon this morning. OR i could put 5 frozen meatballs in the microwave. bam. breakfast.”

  8. I love cold spaghetti possibly even more than I love hot spaghetti? Like, hot spaghetti is objectively better but I can only eat so much of it before I am forced to admit that I am full. But cold leftover spaghetti, straight from the tupperware, first thing in the morning? I will eat all of it.

    • Yasss.

      When I’m at my parents’ and am served spaghetti, I add cottage cheese to cool it down. Haha.

      And I prefer it as an unheated leftover.

  9. thank you for supporting my choice to eat puttanesca (minus anchovy) for breakfast whenever i fucking feel like it.

  10. I have always been a big proponent of “breakfast is whatever you make it” cause I don’t like/am allergic to like 90% of Conventional Breakfast Food.

    I can very strongly recommend curry udon for breakfast. Especially in the winter when it’s cld and dark in the mornings and you just need something to wake you up and drag you out of bed.

  11. As a longtime dinner-for-breakfast stan, I am thrilled to see you spreading the good news, Kayla. Breakfast pasta is one of life’s simple pleasures.

  12. I not only strongly support this idea of eating what ever you want for breakfast I already practice it.

    Left over pho for breakfast that is not enough noodles because I can never have enough pho noodles.

    Left over gyro meat(usually lamb) and tzatziki sauce in a taco for breakfast isn’t taco al pastor because that is already a thing Lebanese immigrants to Mexico came up with and it involves skewers if I remember correctly.

    Breakfast is a thing I like to have as soon as possible with as much protein as I can.

  13. I was backpacking through Europe and would put together meals from the free leftover hostel food. I made spaghetti with curry in Paris and it was delicious. Eat whatever you want whenever you want.

  14. “Chronically single” OMG awesome!

    I like to start with minced garlic, red pepper flakes a couple anchovies in olive oil. Just before the garlic goldens up I hit it with wine, Reduce it and Then all the juice from the canned clams then reduce that. Add my tomato sauce, clams and herbs. Once the pasta is about a minute from frim finish I add it to my pan turn the heat off and leave it rest for the pasta to absorb the flavors without being over cooked.

    I usually make enough to have with breakfast served with an over easy egg and crusty bread and then Again later for lunch or dinner at the office.
    So gooood.

  15. I eat anything I like for breakfast. Most of the time I am a toast kinda gal, but occasionally you just wanna get up and make curry or spicy noodles or fricking miso soup for breakfast.

    I think the time of my life when I did night shifts kind of awoke me to the possibilities of anything I wanted for breakfast, because my body obstinately refused to switch to eating breakfast-type foods when I woke up in the evening – I always really wanted dinner-type foods.

    I’m not on night shifts anymore but most recently I crushed a bowl of kare burosu ramen for breakfast at the airport Wagamama the other day and it was fantastic.

  16. I had pasta for breakfast today because I am out of the main ingredient for the soup I make for breakfast every morning.

    Yeah, soup for breakfast.

  17. my only experience with breakfast pasta was an ex-boyfriend who would have pasta for breakfast — spaghetti, drizzled with olive oil and powdered parmesan cheese — because it cost less than $1 to make and his usual daily food budget was around $2 (another fave meal of his was potato chips stolen from work, dipped in ketchup), b/c he was terrible with money.

    anyhow, this post has recast this concept in new light for me, so thank u

    also i just really loved how it was written so thank u for that too

  18. A recent trip convinced me that Asian countries do breakfast better. Breakfast curry, breakfast sushi, and breakfast soup are all better than toast and eggs.

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