For the same reason I like the one-egg omelet, I prefer a frittata to be mostly the filling, with egg providing a supporting structure. To create a leftover pasta frittata, start by warming last night’s puttanesca, pesto, primavera, or any other sauced pasta in a skillet with a couple tablespoons water. Or go with unsauced spaghetti for a crisper effect. Having the filling hot when it’s mixed with the eggs helps with the flipping step by sort of cooking the frittata from the inside and avoiding overbrowning the bottom before the center is set. To avoid unappealingly dry overfluff, I cook frittatas on the stovetop and never in the oven. It’s a little trickier, but it keeps the texture right and the unctuous flavor factor high.–Cal Peternell
LC The Dread Frittata Flip Note
We know a lot of you are sorta scared of the dread frittata flip. And we can understand that. But we’re here to assure you that you can let that fear go. The directions in the leftover pasta frittata recipe below should see you through the moment with ease, if not grace. As one of our recipe testers said, “It is a nervous minute or two when flipping the frittata, but it does become easier with practice, and it makes for a dramatic presentation if you happen to have an audience in the kitchen when you’re preparing it.” And if for some reason, despite your and our best efforts, the flip still flops, so what? Just nudge it back together as best you can, finish cooking it, plop it on some plates, and grab your forks. It may look like a jumble, but it’ll still taste spectacular.
Leftover Pasta Frittata Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus oil or butter for the skillet
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Somewhere around 4 ounces cold leftover spaghetti (sauced or unsauced, preferably placed on a dinner plate in a nest and refrigerated) [Editor’s Note: Gotta go with spaghetti here, other shapes are tricky.]
- 1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk very well, until streaks no longer appear. Mix in the cheese, oil, salt, and a grind of pepper.
- 2. If you have sauced spaghetti, whether puttanesca or pesto or something else, dump it in a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat along with a couple tablespoons water and heat until it’s warm but before it starts to sizzle. Drain off any water that hasn’t evaporated and turn the spaghetti into the egg mixture. Wipe out the skillet, return it to medium-low heat, and add enough oil or butter to slick the bottom and sides of the skillet. Add the egg mixture, distributing the spaghetti evenly if it clumps.
If you have plain unsauced spaghetti, heat a couple tablespoons oil or butter in a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti. (The easiest way to cook the unsauced spaghetti begins when you stash the leftovers in the fridge. Best to place the tangle of spaghetti on a dinner plate. The nest of pasta strands will be too firm to budge when cold, so just slide the entire frisbee-like chunk of spaghetti into the skillet.) Let it get crisp and browned on the bottom, pressing down once or twice on the spaghetti with a spatula. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the egg mixture.
- 3. Turn the heat to low and occasionally rotate the skillet a quarter turn if the egg seems to be cooking unevenly around the edges. When the perimeter of the frittata looks set and the center is still somewhat liquid, which should be after about 8 minutes, run a table knife around the skillet to loosen the sides of the frittata and carefully slip a thin metal spatula under it to loosen the underside. Invert a plate over the skillet and place one hand over the plate and the other hand on the skillet handle. Here comes the exciting part—you’re going to flip the frittata onto the plate. (We admit that it can end in disaster, but you have to stay confident and strong.) You don’t want the frittata to slide onto the plate or fold over, so the motion should be up and over, not just over, and it has to happen kind of quickly. Alley-oop, and it’s on the plate and the skillet is clean. Set the plate down and quickly slick the skillet with a little more oil or butter. Then, with the help of the spatula, encourage the frittata to slide back in. Don’t worry if things are looking a little Humpty Dumpty—just fit it all back together again and keep it over low heat until it’s cooked through, about 7 more minutes.
- 4. When the frittata seems to be cooked through, make a crack in the middle with the tip of the spatula and sneak a peek to see that the egg is all set. Then slide or flip the frittata onto a plate. The good news is that there are a couple sides to every frittata—so if you like the looks of the top side, slide the frittata out the way you slid it in. If you like the looks of the other side better, flip it out onto a clean plate and show that one. Let cool a little or a lot, slice in wedges or squares or long skinny strips, and serve. (A frittata tastes good hot, better after it has cooled a half hour or so, and possibly best after it has had a chance to regroup on the countertop for an afternoon.)
- Leftover Herb or Veggies or Cheese Frittata (Hold the Pasta)
- Omit the spaghetti. Whisk chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, chives, mint, or tarragon, into the egg mixture along with the cheese, oil, salt, and pepper. Alternatively, boiled green vegetables, such as green beans or sweet peas or asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces, work well when added to the eggs once in the skillet. Or add little bits of ricotta or goat cheese, which should be dabbed into the eggs once they’re in the skillet. But everyone’s favorite at our house is the original leftover pasta frittata.
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Leftover Pasta Frittata Recipe © 2014 Cal Peternell. Photo © 2014 Ed Anderson. All rights reserved.
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