Leftover pasta is generally pretty bad when reheated. But there is one great way to recycle leftover pasta: as a pasta frittata. All you do is mix your leftovers with eggs and grated cheese, perhaps some minced parsley for color, and a bit of salt and pepper if it needs it. Then proceed as you would for any frittata, although I like to let this kind of frittata brown quite a bit more on each side.
For each 100-150g (4-5 oz) of leftover pasta, add:
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 heaping Tablespoons of grated parmesan or pecorino, as you prefer
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely minced (optional)
- Olive oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients except the oil together in a bowl.
Heat a skillet large enough to fit the pasta and egg mixture and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Swirl the oil around gently to coat the sides of the pan.
Now continue as you would for any frittata, slipping the pasta and egg mixture into the skillet and cooking the frittata until golden brown on both sides. You should cook the frittata gently, so that it doesn’t brown before the insides are cooked through, but I do like to raise the heat at the end so as to crisp up the crust even more. (NB: I never do this with my ‘regular’ frittatas, but somehow I feel the need with this one.)
Turn the frittata on to a plate and let it cool for a few minutes before diving in…
Of course, the character of your pasta frittata will vary according to the size and shape of the pasta and the sauce you used to dress it. The most typical frittata of this type is probably made with spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce, but this method lends itself to just about any pasta secca and any sauce you can imagine. The ratio of egg:pasta given above is indicative only; the pasta should predominate, but just make sure to use enough egg to bind the pasta together.
A broader discussion of the pasta frittata—la frittata di maccheroni, one of the iconic dishes of Neapolitan cuisine—is a subject worthy of fuller treatment than today’s quick note. It’s typically a warm weather dish perfect for a picnic that can be ‘dressed up’ any number of ways, and I’ll blog about when the time comes. But for now, I thought I’d share this handy tip. Not that we have much leftover pasta around our house, mind you…