This was my mother's specialty when I was growing up. Leftover pasta was always transformed into a frittata. So delicious and easy to put together, it comes together in 30 minutes! Bake it as creamy and as cheesy as you want it, it's always a crowd-pleaser. It also works with tomato sauce pasta, which is probably my favorite.
When your mother doesn’t cook, lunch and dinner can be quite challenging. Or not, depending on how you look at it, because as kids we got to eat all those no-no foods, like hot dogs and mashed potatoes (no bun and not real potatoes…), buttered rice with fried eggs on top, fritters, etc.
And this frittata, which in those times was really a tortilla.
Frittata vs tortilla
Tortilla is the Spanish version, and after the bottom is golden and done, the whole thing is flipped over (with the aid of a plate or a flat pot lid) and returned to the skillet to finish cooking. Let me tell you there was much pride on how well you flipped the tortilla back then. Just like with pancakes.
A frittata is finished in the oven which makes it oh.so.simple!
So the tortilla crust is similar on all sides and the frittata has a smooth bottom but the top is irregular and less crusty usually.
Making a pasta frittata
- Pasta: leftovers or fresh, they all work. I used leftovers from the Charred Corn Asparagus Spaghetti.
- Binding agent: we need to add eggs in order to bind it all together. And because it's a frittata, people! I also add some cream to make it creamier. Of course.
- Seasonings: it is essential to add a nice dose of salt, pepper, herbs, spices, whatever is your jam. Even if your leftover pasta is well seasoned, you're adding a lot of extra ingredients and it will water them down.
- Cheese: it adds a lot of flavor. Take into account the cheeses you use and adjust the salt in your seasoning.
You just have to mix all the ingredients in a bowl before adding them to the skillet.
- Start with the add-ins: use whatever leftover pasta you have (I love it with tomato sauce also) and add the cheeses and herbs if using. Season well!
- Add eggs: beat eggs in a separate bowl and add to the spaghetti, or make a well in the center, add the eggs and mix with a fork. Check seasonings.
- Cooking it: cook first on the stove until a light crust starts to develop. Scatter cheese over it and finish it in the oven.
- Other recipes that also work: Corn and Tomato Pasta Bowl and Jalapeño Arugula Pasta.
- She sometimes made white sauce too, and mixed it with leftover pasta, topped it with cheese, popped it into the oven, and called it au gratin pasta.
Anyway, this frittata is to honor that childhood meal that I loved. I do love reheated noodles and with eggs and extra cheese, what’s not to love about it.
This is a great dish to make and freeze! Similar to what we suggest when making our homemade quiche recipe, you can have one in the freezer at all times and pop it in the oven (medium, 350°F/180°CC) for a last-minute frittata dinner. Or lunch.
Always wrap it well. I recommend first plastic wrap and then aluminum. It lasts a month, sometimes more.
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This was my mother's specialty when I was growing up. Leftover pasta was always transformed into a frittata. So delicious and easy to put together! Bake it as creamy and as cheesy as you want it!
- 1 pound leftover pasta
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup hard cheese, such as parmesan and/or cheddar, grated
- ⅓ cup melting cheese, such as mozzarella, grated
- 3-4 tablespoons cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF /180ºC
- In a large bowl mix eggs, cream and seasonings.
- Add pasta and half of the hard cheese and all of the melting cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt butter or oil in a cast iron skillet over low heat.
- Add the egg/pasta mixture and let cook without stirring for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Scatter the extra cheese on top.
- The egg will start to cook on the outside, but the middle will be very wet still.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake in the middle rack for 7 or 8 minutes, until the middle is almost firm. Set the oven to broil and the temperature to 400ºF /200ºC.
- Broil it for 5 more minutes so the top begins to set, or until you feel it's done to your liking, some people like it well done.
- Remove carefully using oven mitts or a thick kitchen towel , add chopped parsley and serve.
Eggs: there's no need to beat the eggs too much, it's more of a thorough mixing. We don't want the frittata to rise and fall too much, as you would a souffle or dutch pancake.
it is essential to add a nice dose of salt, pepper, herbs, spices, whatever is your jam. Even if your leftover pasta is well seasoned, you're adding a lot of extra ingredients and it will water them down.
Variations: you can use any leftover pasta (with tomato sauce it makes a fantastic frittata) and other cheeses. I like to use soft like goat cheese or mozzarella, but really, any cheese you love works. If using hard cheeses grate them for easier melting.
Keywords: pasta frittata