Leftover pasta? Try the creative Neapolitan Frittata
Born in Naples as a humble dish to recycle the leftover pasta, this tasteful and simple dish is an authentic comfort food
From Naples, a delightful "recycling" recipe
This unique Frittata is yet another gift from the beautiful city of Naples, the pearl of the Campania region in the South of Italy. This old and traditional dish comes with many names: Frittata di Spaghetti or Frittata di Maccheroni or Frittata di Pasta or “frittata ‘e maccarune” (if you want to say it in the original Neapolitan dialect). The most traditional recipe strictly required the use of leftover spaghetti from the day before; in a time of misery, it was created not to waste any pasta from the day before. Today there are two versions: the homemade version and the smaller ones, the “frittatine” that you can buy in the “friggitorie”, the fry shops.
Simple ingredients, finger-licking results
This Frittata, at first considered a humble dish, is made of simple ingredients. It contains only pasta, eggs, cheese, and pepper. The result, however, is delicious and finger-licking. Today, however, you can use all the pasta you want, both short or long pasta, from rigatoni, to bucatini, fettuccine or penne. If you don't have leftovers, you can use freshly cooked pasta. Needless to say - as always happens in traditional Italian cuisine - there are countless versions. Each family has its own unique recipe for Frittata di Pasta.
The perfect meal to take along
The secret to the pasta frittata is its versatility: you can enjoy it hot but also cold in slices. As the New York Times said, "This dish is one recipe calling for leftover pasta that is actually worth planning for. It's portable, it's endlessly versatile, and it's practically foolproof." For Italians, it harks back to days of holidays or trips like picnics or beach days. This treat is omnipresent in the backpacks of Italians on out-of-town trips.
Try our recipe!
Some versions include scamorza, provola or mozzarella; pancetta (bacon) or baked ham. Neapolitan purists add only Parmigiano to spaghetti with tomato sauce. You will need six large eggs, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, 4 ounces cold leftover spaghetti (with or without sauce), extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the eggs into a bowl, add cheese, extra virgin olive oil (3 tablespoons), salt, and pepper. Slick a saucepan with olive oil (bottom and sides) pour your spaghetti, and heat until they are warm. Add the mixture and distribute evenly. Cook for around five minutes until the base is crispy and browned; flip the Frittata over and cook the other side. Your delicious Frittata is ready; enjoy it with family and friends warm or sliced cold!
- Donatella Mulvoni