The Breakfast Queen Ina Pinkney’s Pasta Frittata


Chicago’s “Breakfast Queen,” Ina Pinkney, closed her much-loved West Loop restaurant, Ina’s, at the end of 2013.

Happily, we have her fabulous new cookbook/memoir, “Taste Memories: Recipes for Life and Breakfast,” to keep us company. It’s filled with beautiful stories and recipes from the indomitable Pinkney, who has lived a life full of love and laughter… and, of course, pancakes. Even childhood polio couldn’t keep this gal down. You’ll also find many of Ina’s “Recipes for Life,” like “It’s better to have a small piece of something real rather than a big piece of something fake.” Truer words were never spoken!

Pair this fabulous Pasta Frittata with a fruit salad and some sautéed chicken-apple sausages at brunch; for dinner, opt for an arugula, shaved celery and apple salad lightly dressed with vinaigrette. Don’t forget the wine…a crisp white would be best (or, of course, a Bloody Mary).

Ina’s Pasta Frittata

Serves 8-10

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups julienne zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, “to tasty”
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound cream cheese, pulled into bite-size bits
  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti, drained and cooled


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 10-inch cake pan or leak-proof, spring-form pan lightly with oil. Line bottom with parchment, brush with more oil.

2. In large pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add red pepper mushrooms and zucchini; sauté until soft. Stir in oregano and season to taste. Pour off extra liquid.

3. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper on low speed. Add cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. When combined, with machine running, add cream cheese. Set aside.

4. Place cooked spaghetti into prepared pan. Spoon cooked veggies over pasta. Pour in egg mixture. Mix with your hands to evenly distribute ingredients in pan. Pat down so that solids are covered with liquid as much as possible.

5. Bake 45-55 minutes until firm to touch and lightly brown. Frittata will puff up, and then settle when cool. Remove from pan by loosening around the edges and inverting the frittata onto a plate. Remove parchment and invert again on serving platter to serve immediately. Cut and serve, or refrigerate and cut into portions the next day. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce and some Parmesan cheese.

6. Reheat individual pieces for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.


Adapted from “Taste Memories: Recipes or Life and Breakfast” by Ina Pinkney, 2014.

Photo by Stephen Hamilton

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate