When I make pasta for friends and family I do it like a mamma italiana, meaning I make enough to feed twice as many people. Obviously I end up with too much and reheating the pasta the next day is only for the desperate but there are other ways to make it sing again. Here is my favorite example: frittata di pasta.
This recipe is simple, thrifty and has all the great qualities of a quick meal: taste, texture, and the ability to satisfy your hunger. When my family from the US visits me in Rome, a quick meal for those getting right off the plane is spaghetti with tomato sauce–the ultimate comfort food–knowing that the next day what hasn’t been consumed will be turned into another meal.
My niece and nephew, who have “particular” tastes in food, were pleasantly surprised that the spaghetti from the night before turned into a yummy frittata di pasta for lunch the next day. This recipe, which is similar to an omelette, will work with almost any shape of pasta but i tend towards the long ones–spaghetti, linguine, bucatini–and they can be sauced with a variety of toppings, though the simpler the better. I’ve also tried this frittata with leftover risotto and it turned out wonderfully (another reason to be creative in the kitchen!). Accompanied by a green salad and then some fresh, seasonal fruit, a macedonia di frutta fruit salad or even gelato, it’s a perfectly easy and healthy way to get through the day while using up what’s left from yesterday’s meal.
Frittata di Pasta
3 cups cooked, sauced pasta
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup good olive oil or more if necessary
Fresh herbs like basil, thyme or sage, chopped (dried ones can work too)
2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Warm large nonstick or cast iron pan with oil for a few minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium/high and add pasta. This is a crucial step as the pasta needs to get nicely browned, even crunchy, on one side so leave it on for at least 5-10 minutes. Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Turn down heat then add beaten eggs with herbs, salt and pepper. When eggs are set add grated cheese. To finish off, put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is slightly browned.
Serve it directly from the pan–family-style–or flip it (warning: this is tricky and takes practice) onto a large serving plate for visual effect.
While this is an easy recipe it may take a few tries to get it right. Even if it doesn’t look perfect, it will taste just as good, even for breakfast the next day.
Elizabeth Janus is a passionate traveller, and makes it a point to peruse the farmer’s markets in every place she visits to get an immediate pulse of the city. For the last decade, she has been guiding discerning clients on food adventures at farmer’s markets, speciality shops and into her home for unique Italian meals to experience Italy as an Italian..