Quinoa Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta

March 20, 2013 | | | | | |
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5 from 1 vote

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Monday was the worst day of my life. As a result, I was desperately in need of some comfort food yesterday, and Quinoa Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta really hit the spot:

 
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Okay okay, Monday wasn’t actually the worst day of my life. However, it did involve 15 hours of public transportation, 6 of which were spent on a Greyhound bus, so it was pretty close (#whitegirlproblems). Anyhoo, I arrived back in NYC in the wee hours of yesterday morning. After a brief dirt nap, I woke up feeling tired, bitchy, and craving something delicious that wouldn’t involve me slaving over a hot stove for more than 15 minutes. So, it was either eggs or…eggs.

Eggs are pretty much my go-to when it comes to simple comfort food. This is probably because my mom used scrambled eggs to cure all manner of ills throughout my childhood. Sick? Feeling picky? Stressed? Rough day at school? Bad haircut? I got scrambled eggs. And to be honest, those eggs worked some serious magic over the years. Except for the bad haircut. No amount of scrambled eggs can help an eighth grader with a Winona Ryder pixie cut. I just had to ride that one out.

Over the years, I’ve gone through quite a few phases with my eggs. There was the aforementioned scrambled phase, followed by fried, and then it was soft-boiled, removed from the shell with butter and toast cubes mixed in (that was a pretty epic creation…thanks, Mom). Back in my dining alone heyday, I ate a disturbing number of omelettes, which were the easiest thing on my wallet and my Parisian waistline. While I still have a fondness for all of those egg preparations, I’ve recently developed a new obsession, and baked eggs are it.

If you haven’t heard of baked eggs, you live under a rock. They are everywhere. You literally can’t pick up a brunch menu in New York City without seeing some version of baked eggs. Not that I’m complaining. There is a very good reason for this: baked eggs are fucking awesome. Needless to say, my version is the best:

 
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First of all, the texture of a baked egg is bomb. The white is just set while the yolk stays soft and runny, similar to a perfectly cooked poached egg. I can’t explain why, but eggs seem to retain more egg-y flavor when baked than when cooked in any other way. (Trust me, I’m an expert.)

Let’s discuss the other badass elements of this baked egg recipe, shall we? First, you’ve got pancetta, which is one of my all time favorite meats. I’m sure you know what pancetta is, but if you don’t, it is an Italian cured meat. (You’ve probably heard Giada say “pan-CHET-ta” on the Food Network before.) If you’re still confused, it is essentially thick cut bacon. You’ll like it. Mixed with crushed fire roasted tomatoes and chili flakes, it makes for an unbeatable flavor combination that is salty, spicy, smoky, and sweet all at the same time. Spinach provides the requisite greenery, and the quinoa really rounds out the meal. I added the quinoa as an afterthought, but it turned out to be the back-bone of this recipe. It makes the tomato sauce much heartier, plus it gives you an extra boost of protein and fiber. It’s everything you ever wanted in an egg dish and more.

I can’t peer pressure you enough to add Quinoa Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta to your growing recipe repertoire. It’s an easy breakfast, lunch, or dinner during the week, and it’s a great option to serve friends for brunch. It can be ready in less than a half hour, and it’s very pretty to look at. You can dress it up by baking the eggs in individual ramekins, or dress it down by digging straight into the skillet with your roommate. It’s versatile, accessible, attractive, and everyone will love it. Basically, it’s the Jennifer Lawrence of the egg world, and it deserves similar praise.

Quinoa Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta: (Serves 2-4)

 
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Ingredients:
¼ lb pancetta, cubed
½ Spanish onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups baby spinach, packed
¾ cup cooked quinoa
salt to taste
5 large eggs
3 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan cheese
 

 

Preparing your baked eggs:

*Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

-Cut your pancetta into small cubes.

 
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-Heat a large skillet (or oven-proof saucepan) over medium heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes until nicely browned. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside, reserving about about 1 tsp of the rendered grease.

 
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-Lower the heat and add the minced onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook in the grease from the pancetta for 3 minutes until the onions become translucent.

 
quinoa-baked-eggs-with-spinach-and-pancetta-step-by-step-recipe
 
 
 

-Add the fire roasted tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the spinach and stir gently until completely wilted, about 3 minutes.

 
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-Add the cooked quinoa and pancetta and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add salt to taste. (Be careful, peeps. The pancetta is salty, so you shouldn’t need too much extra salt). Remove the skillet from the heat.

 
quinoa-baked-eggs-with-spinach-and-pancetta-step-by-step-recipe
 
 
 

-Make 5 small wells in the sauce and gently crack an egg into each well.

-Carefully transfer the skillet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny. They eggs will continue to cook when you remove them from the oven, so don’t worry if they are slightly undercooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

 
quinoa-baked-eggs-with-spinach-and-pancetta-step-by-step-recipe
 
 
 

-Serve hot. It’s pretty great with some a slice of thick toasted French bread (you know, if you’re into carbs). Chillax and enjoy your new favorite comfort food.

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Quinoa Baked Eggs with Spinach and Pancetta

Author - Serena Wolf

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 2 -4 servings (depending on hunger levels)

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb pancetta cubed
  • ½ Spanish onion minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups baby spinach packed
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa
  • salt to taste
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut your pancetta into small cubes.
  • Heat a large skillet (or oven-proof saucepan) over medium heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes until nicely browned. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside, reserving about about 1 tsp of the rendered grease.
  • Lower the heat and add the minced onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook in the grease from the pancetta for 3 minutes until the onions become translucent.
  • Add the fire roasted tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the spinach and stir gently until completely wilted, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked quinoa and pancetta and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add salt to taste. (Be careful, peeps. The pancetta is salty, so you shouldn’t need too much extra salt). Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Make 5 small wells in the sauce and gently crack an egg into each well.
  • Carefully transfer the skillet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny. They eggs will continue to cook when you remove them from the oven, so don’t worry if they are slightly undercooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Serve hot. It’s pretty great with some a slice of thick toasted French bread (you know, if you’re into carbs).

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7 Comments

  1. Ryan T. Long on January 21, 2014 at 3:12 am

    This was delicious! I was distracted right at that crucial moment, and overcooked my eggs, so the yolks were hard, but it was yummy nevertheless. I have a hard time with the acid from too much tomatoes; what would you say about swapping out the tomatoes with something like squash, carrot, or roasted red pepper purée? Is the acidity of the tomatoes important in this recipe? Something I’ll miss without them?

    • Serena Wolf on January 21, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Ryan, so glad this was a success (overcooked yolks be damned!). I think you may miss the tomatoes for the moisture/sauce aspect if you remove them completely, but you definitely don’t need the acidity. I think a butternut squash puree or roasted red pepper puree would be delicious, and you could also try reducing the tomatoes by half and then adding some roasted squash or sautéed peppers. You can’t really go wrong with baked eggs, so feel free to get creative!

  2. Tamara on September 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    This looks so friggin good. And will be on my table tomorrow! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lauren Roffey on March 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Sounds great. Love baked eggs and LOVE pancetta. Boom!

  4. why_in_the_heck on March 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I LOVE baked eggs! And my fiance and I often eat them straight from the skillet 😛 Love the idea of adding quinoa. Adding this to the list of things to make 🙂

    • Serena Wolf on March 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      I’m a BIG fan of eating things straight from the skillet/pot/pan. Totally bohemian (and by that I mean there are no extra dishes). Hope you try it! xx

  5. Ruby on March 21, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Great recipe! I like how easy it sounds to prepare! The eggs look so perfectly baked!

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