Here’s a Genius Way to Reinvent Leftover Pasta
Leftovers are a fact of life, but what are we to do with leftover pasta?
Every Sunday morning, my mother would make a four-egg batch of pasta dough and usually cut it into tagliatelle. She also prepared a pot of tomato and meat sauce. At lunchtime, she cooked all the tagliatelle, knowing that half would be left over. The day after, she prepared them ripassate in padella, meaning she heated some olive oil in a skillet and tossed the cold pasta in it, sautéeing it until it was nice and hot. What I liked about the result was that some strands became crisp and the sauce acquired a deeper flavor.
For my first vacation away from my parents, when I was 16 years old, I spent 10 days or so in the Calabrian city of Rossano. One day, my host prepared spaghetti, and I noticed that she set some of it aside, then dressed the rest and brought it to the table. The day after, she made a frittata with the spaghetti she had set aside. It was a revelation.
I kept that memory with me until I started making my own version of frittata di pasta, usually with pasta left over from a meal, hence dressed. The nice thing about it is that the frittata is a bit different every time, depending on the kind of pasta and how it was dressed. For the rendition shown here, I used some tagliatelle verdi with ricotta, made according to the recipe in my previous post. A portion was eaten right away and the following day I used the rest to make the frittata.
Consider the below as more of an invitation to be creative with what you have available than a recipe. Adjust the number of eggs and pan size to the amount of pasta at hand and choose a cheese that you think pairs better with the pasta (whose original dressing may include some cheese, something to take into account in the planning). A wedge of the frittata served with a simple heirloom tomato salad makes a lovely summer lunch.
Frittata di Pasta
Serve with Mazzoni Vermentino-Chardonnay
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 eggs, possibly from pastured poultry
3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Oil a 10-inch oven-proof skillet and warm up. Add the leftover pasta. Warm up the pasta and lightly sauté it for a couple of minutes, stirring every now and then.
In the meantime, break the eggs in a bowl and whisk them lightly until just blended. Add the salt and whisk briefly. Add the water and whisk lightly to incorporate. Add the grated cheese to the eggs and whisk lightly to incorporate. If you use the sliced cheese, hold on to it until later.
Turn on the broiler. If your oven allows it, choose the “low” setting, otherwise, move a rack to the lowest position.
Pour the eggs slowly into the skillet. With a fork, gently arrange the pasta so it is evenly distributed. Cook over low heat. After the edge is set, run a spatula under it and shake the frittata gently to ensure the bottom does not stick to the pan. Evenly distribute the sliced cheese on the surface.
When the eggs are set, place the skillet in the oven, leaving the door ajar, for 3 minutes. Take the skillet out of the oven (don’t forget that the handle is hot) and let rest of a couple of minutes, then slide the frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.
With a specialty in handmade pasta, Simona provides detailed, accessible tutorials teaching readers to cook like an Italian right from home on Live Like an Italian as well as on her own blog, briciole.