Margherita Frittata, which is called Frittata di Pasta alla Margherita in Italian, is a typical Neapolitan dish which uses leftover pasta. The idea of not throwing away food that can be recycled into a new meal has been passed down for years from Italian grandmothers and great grandmothers to each new generation. Sometimes the simplest of meals can be the best and this is one of them.
If you cook a large quantity of spaghetti and have a little left over, never throw it away…save it. The frittata is so good that you may want to cook extra pasta just so you can prepare this recipe. Having some leftover pasta aglio e olio from the previous evening’s dinner, I knew I had to make this well know Italian egg dish. All I needed to do was go out to the garden and pick some ripe cherry tomatoes and basil.
This is not really a recipe but rather a technique that allows you to make a meal with what you find in your refrigerator and pantry. I’m giving you approximate amounts that will serve 2 people for a main course or 4 for an appetizer. Since you will be using leftover pasta and whatever you may have on hand, your quantities may be different.
Margherita Frittata – Frittata di Pasta alla Margherita
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 4 – 5 eggs
- 1/4 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder or however much you like to use
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. of grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. of flour, I used Wondra* (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 – 2 c. of leftover spaghetti that is cooked al dente**
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered, (I used Sweet 100’s and Sun Gold) seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper
- a handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 of a small ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
- chopped basil or parsley for garnish
* I read that the trick to fluffy eggs is to sprinkle in a little flour before cooking.
** If you are one of those people who never have leftover pasta, you can cook spaghetti specifically for this dish then toss it with a little olive oil and let it cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs with the seasonings, grated cheese and the flour until well blended. Heat the olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, swirling to coat the sides. When hot, add the egg mixture and rotate the pan to form a bottom. Add the pasta, top with the tomatoes, basil and cubed mozzarella. Place in the oven for approximately 5 – 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. (This depends on how many eggs and how much pasta you are using.) You can check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the middle. Remove the frittata from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and then serve.
Marcella Hazen, a wonderful authority on Italian food, had a recipe for a delicious spaghetti frittata in one of her cookbooks that she prepared with a larger ratio of pasta to egg and was much thicker. Her classic dish was just made with pasta, eggs and cheese.
There are many options when preparing what might be called an Italian omelet. If you prefer, you can cook the frittata covered on the stove top and finished under the broiler. Whether you want a thin frittata like I prepared or a thick one that is mostly pasta like Marcella’s, your options are wide open as to what you put in your frittata. Remember, Italian grandmothers made this dish to feed their families with bits of food that were leftover from a previous meal.
My Margherita frittata can be served either hot or cold as an appetizer, served with a mixed green salad for a light lunch or dinner, or even stuffed into crusty bread to take along on a picnic. I’ve been talking about how good this frittata was for days. Try it, I believe you will like it.