Monday, May 30, 2011
I’ve already admitted that whenever there is a question of buying too little or too much food, I usually err way over on the side of too much. This weekend it happened again. The farmer’s market was blessedly empty on Sunday morning, and so I had plenty of time to make impulse purchases, without truly planning any meal.
I had a vague idea of a Sunday lunch that involved pasta. The next thing I knew I was heading home with two kilos of freshly made fettucine. Which would have been fine had we been eight - or even ten - people. But we were only four. (I blame it on the woman in line next to me, who kept telling everyone who could hear “I always make 200 grams of pasta per person.” Well, good for her.)
Come lunch time, I somehow I decided it was a good idea to go ahead and cook all the pasta anyway. It was fresh pasta, and so wouldn’t keep that long. But once cooked, I realized no way did I have enough sugo to coat all that pasta.
So half went to the table, as fettucine al pomodoro. The other half? Once drained, I drizzled it with olive oil, gave it a toss and set it aside until dinner.
Yes, it’s another frittata recipe. As you’ve probably guessed, we eat frittata for dinner at least once a week here at casa Minchilli. And up until now my frittata recipes have been very veggie-centric. Eggs and agretti, eggs and stinging nettles, eggs and wild asparagus. Yes, out-of-the-ordinary vegetables, but eggs and just about any veggie makes a pretty good frittata. But here’s a little secret: the very best frittata is the one without any veggies at all. Frittata di Pasta is one of those homemade dishes that you never ever see in restaurants. But if you mention it to any Italian they get this sort of dreamy look in their eyes and start telling you about picnics at the beach, or the frittata their nonna used to make.
Italians are very good at making just enough food for the meal at hand. Rarely do they go way overboard with tupperware containers full of leftovers clogging the fridge after a meal. But on that rare occasion when they do have a bit of pasta left over from a family meal, it often makes its way into this rustic frittata which is pure heaven.
Although you can certainly make this frittata with pasta that already has a sauce on it, I love it made when the noodles are barely dressed with a bit of olive oil. That way I can add handfuls of parmigiano and pecorino, for a very cheesy and chewy dish. The trick is making the pasta the star of the show, with just enough eggs to bind it all together. And if you’re wondering what that green is, it’s parsley, which I think is essential for this frittata. A big bunch, roughly chopped.
By the way: I used fettucine, but any and all pasta shapes will do just fine.
And while frittatas can be eaten piping hot, I like this one served at room temperature, as do most Italians. Although I served this up as the main course for a dinner party on Sunday, this dish made from leftover pasta is even better as a leftover itself. A thick slice between two pieces of bread is the perfect beach picnic food.
Or - even better - Monday morning breakfast on the terrace.
Frittata di Pasta
3 cups cooked pasta
3/4 cup grated parmigiano
1/2 cup cubed pecorino
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt & pepper
If you don’t have any leftover pasta, cook and drain the pasta and toss it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
Break eggs into a large mixing bowl, and stir with a fork to break up. Add the cheeses and stir well to mix. Add the pasta and parsley, with the salt and pepper. Stir.
Heat a non stick frying pan (about 10 inch/ 60 cm) with enough olive oil to coat the bottom in a thin layer. Add the egg and pasta mixture, using a wooden spoon to spread evenly over the pan.
Cover with a flat lid, and let cook at low heat until set, about 10 minutes. If the top is stil runny, hold the pan and lid carefully and flip it over. Then slide the frittata back into the hot pan to finish cooking the top (which is now the bottom).
You can serve this hot, but it’s even better at room temperature. In any case, let it rest at least five minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.