Whenever I make pasta I also make a ton of sauce to go with it, and without fail I finish the meal with no pasta and quite a bit of sauce leftover. I’m not really sure what my issue is, but I have always had difficulty gauging just how much sauce is really necessary. Part of my proportioning problems can be blamed on old habits, I suppose. When I was younger, I used to drown my pasta in sauce as though it were pasta soup. Little did I know that this is seriously bad form, and if any true Italian had seen me pull such a stunt I’d probably end up sleeping with the fishes.
The following morning after I’d risen from my carb-induced coma from eating mounds of pastas I made late Saturday, my stomach groaned with heavy pleas.
“Mooooore carrrrrrbbsssss,” it moaned before finishing with a disconcerting gurgling sound.
Extremely tired and a little bit beaten up after making all that pasta, I grabbed my stomach and thought about how much I really wished I’d had some more leftover. I understand it’s not a proper breakfast, but I wasn’t sure if I was up to doing anything at all that day, much less cook. I was fully planning to lie on the couch all day and command my cat, Connor, to grow hands and massage my feet.
When that plan failed, I went to the fridge to see what I could make that was minimally involved. After rummaging through various condiments and not finding anything sufficient, I was about to say screw it and go back to willing a foot massage. Before I shut the door, I gave the leftover marinara a second thought and decided that whatever I was making that morning, it was going to have tomato sauce.
Upon further investigation I realized I also had half a baguette and two dozen free-range eggs just begging to be dealt with. I placed them all on the counter, and it immediately became so obvious what I had to do next that I felt a little stupid for not thinking of it before.
While warming up the leftover marinara, I sliced up the remaining baguette, brushed each side of each piece with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh garlic and set them in a skillet over medium heat to brown. Snagging a few leaves from my basil plants, I ripped them into tiny pieces and tossed them into the sauce while it bubbled. This guy was making himself some breakfast brushetta!
For those who live under sad, foodless rocks and are unfamiliar with what bruschetta is, I will fill you in: Bruschetta is an extremely popular Italian appetizer that has made its way around the world, and just like a raging harlot, it has claimed the hearts of many food lovers. Bruschetta has many variations, but most people will recognize it in its classical form: toasted bread brushed with an olive oil mixture comprised of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder (optional), covered with mozzarella cheese and then topped off with a tomato and basil finale, served either warm or cold. Eating brushetta is almost a religious experience, it is really that good. Not only will it make you question your holy affiliation, but it will most likely change your waistline as well. This is because it is virtually impossible to eat only one serving of bruschetta. In fact, I suggest you never settle on just one serving of anything because I’m a firm believer that you never know the true taste of a dish until the second serving. I’m positive this rule applies doubly to desserts.
Since my leftovers from the previous night didn’t include mozzarella cheese I instead replaced it with a fried egg, which made it exponentially more breakfast-y. The only other suitable substitute other than an egg to make it MORE delicious would have been chocolate, but Brandon immediately vetoed that notion. I’m still not sure why, but I can’t say I’m not disappointed.
Truthfully, this was the first time I’d ever attempted bruschetta in any form, so I wasn’t really sure how it would turn out. Lucky for me, you have to be a huge failure to screw up bread, eggs and red sauce, so the dish came out even better than I’d planned. And that’s always the goal, isn’t it?
Even with the marinara sauce and the soft-yolk fried egg, the bread had every bit of crunch I’d hoped it would while also internally maintaining the soft chewiness of a baguette that makes it so hard to not eat the whole thing in one sitting. This type of dish is probably more appropriately served durng brunch than breakfast, but that would lead people to start calling it brunch-etta, and I just can’t have that nonsense.
Brandon and I ate our bruschetta in silence, enjoying a painless, flavorful and satisfying breakfast. The only words spoken by either of us during the entire breakfast were by Brandon when we were finished, and they were the words every cook hopes to hear as it’s a true testament to a meal well done:
Please tell me there is more.
Time: 40 minutes, start to finish
- Baguette or french loaf, sliced thick
- Olive oil for brushing (6 tbsp for every 1/2 loaf)
- Marinara sauce
- Eggs (1 egg for each slice of bread, or as preferred)
- Canola oil (1 tbsp for each egg fried)
- Freshly roasted garlic (or substitute garlic powder)
- Fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Follow this step first if using fresh roasted garlic. If using garlic powder, skip to next paragraph. Preheat oven to 400 and peel away the outer layers of garlic and snip the top just enough to expose the garlic and brush lightly with olive oil. Place garlic bulb in muffin tin (as this keeps the bulb sturdiest, I find) and cover each bulb with tinfoil. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and spreadable.
- Warm pan over medium heat until fully heated. Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, if substituting, and brush each side of each slice liberally and set in pan. After 3 minutes, or when the first side is crisp and lightly browned, flip and allow the other side to brown. Repeat for each slice and set aside on a plate when done.
- To fry egg, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil over medium high heat and drop in eggs one at a time (two if you’re good at frying eggs, which I admittedly am not). Tilt pan while cooking and spoon hot oil over the white, uncooked part of the egg to help cool thoroughly, but remove from heat before the yolk cooks through.
- If using fresh roasted garlic, use a butter knife to remove garlic from their pods and spread over the pan-fried bread and then place egg over top. Spoon marinara sauce over the egg and top with freshly minced basil and parmesan cheese.