Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Frittata con Pasta

September 7, 2014

Frittata with Pasta
Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pasta Frittata with Sausage and Peppers, from Cook's Illustrated

Frittata is one of Diane's go-to dishes for weekday supper. It is a baked egg dish, similar to an omelet, to which you add a variety of other ingredients. It is ideal for using up what you have in your refrigerator. It can be prepared in the oven or in the microwave. It is relatively simple, quick, is good left over, and we like it. I once made a Spanish version of this, the tortilla, though I apparently didn't write about it. It is often served cold as tapas in restaurants; it includes a lot of olive oil and potatoes. I liked it but Diane did not enjoy the inclusion of potatoes.

The July/August issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine has a recipe for frittata which includes pasta. Since Diane doesn't like potatoes in frittata I wasn't sure how this would go over, but she was willing to give it a try. The dish originated in Naples as a way to use leftover pasta. This recipe does not rely on leftover pasta but it does rely on a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Our large nonstick skillets have lost their nonstick property and this was a concern for this recipe. The fritatta is prepared in the one pan, including cooking the pasta, which is really appreciated when it is time to clean up; breakfast for dinner usually creates a lot of dirty pans to clean.

In addition to eggs and pasta, this recipe includes sweet Italian sausage, peppers, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. I made a few minor modifications; I replaced jarred hot cherry peppers with a fresh gypsy pepper which I added to the pan when I browned the sausage. I did encounter some trouble with sticking, particularly for the angel hair pasta which is boiled in a water and oil mixture until all of the water is gone, and then cooked a little more to lightly brown the pasta. I was afraid I would be unable to get the half-cooked fritatta out of the pan so I could flip it over to finish the cooking. I did have some trouble but with a little help from a spatula I got most of it out in one big piece.

I followed the recommendation from the magazine article and served the frittata with a garden salad that included red leaf lettuce, cucumber, celery, parsley, and heirloom tomato dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. I had considered serving it with some toasted English muffin but the frittata had enough carbs in it already with the pasta.

While eggs and cooked pasta at first seemed a strange combination it worked quite well, bad pan and all. Diane seemed to be pleased with it as well. The recipe uses 8 eggs and says it makes 4 to 6 servings; we will get 8 from it. It was good as a leftover simply reheated in the microwave. I don't know that Diane will add it to her regular repertoire, we rarely have leftover, undressed pasta, but I may try it again after buying a new skillet.

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