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06/28/2020

~ Italian-Style Fried Pasta Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata ~

IMG_3331 2Fried spaghetti at midnight.  It's kind-of a joke in our house, but, when it comes to late-night snacking in ten minutes or less, reheating a slice of cold pizza in a skillet or frying a portion of leftover spaghetti are at the top of my short list.  It goes without saying, frying spaghetti in less than ten minutes does require having cooked, lightly-seasoned, spaghetti in the refrigerator. For reasons unknown to me, this dish works better with day-old pasta (any type can technically be used), and, while the pasta can be lightly-sauced, I prefer it made with unsauced spaghetti. 

Pasta a frittata is an age-old, very traditional Neapolitan dish that, depending on the family or the area it's prepared in, can be made in various ways -- it lends itself to almost all interpretations. Like many Italian dishes, it was a poor man's dish.  Leftovers were never thrown away, they were repurposed.  In the case of (sauced or unsauced) leftover pasta, it was thrown into a skillet with some beaten egg and bits of whatever was on-hand (sometimes crisply-fried bacon or guanciale, other times bits of salami or sopressata and/or cubes of mozzarella, and always, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese).  After a few short minutes, this crispy-and-golden-on-the-outside, soft-and-creamy-in-the-center comfort-food got gobbled up for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

My basic 10-minute 5-ingredient recipe for pasta a frittata:

IMG_32758  cups my recipe for slightly-spicy garlic & italian-herbs buttered pasta (Note:  1 pound thick spaghetti cooked to al dente, drained and tossed with 1 stick salted butter, 1  teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend, 3/4  teaspoon sea salt, and, 1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes.), 24-28 ounces

8  large eggs

8  tablespoons finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1  tablespoon salted butter

1  tablespoon olive oil

IMG_3280 IMG_3280 IMG_3280 IMG_3280 IMG_3280 IMG_3280~Step 1.  In a large bowl, using a hand-held egg beater or a whisk, beat the eggs until smooth. Beat in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Add spaghetti.  Use a large rubber spatula to fold, until spaghetti is thoroughly coated in the liquid.

IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277 IMG_3277~Step 2.  In a 10" nonstick skillet, melt the butter into the oil over low heat. Pour noodle mixture into pan.  Increase heat slightly and allow it to setup on the bottom, about 1 minutes.  Increase heat to medium.  Continue to cook, running a thin spatula around sides, and gently lifting from time to time, until pancake is golden on the bottom, 4-5 minutes.  Flip the pancake over by using a wide nonstick spatula to help slide it onto a plate.  Next, invert skillet on top of plate, then, using pot holders (the skillet is hot), flip the plate and the pan over.  Return to heat and cook on second side until golden on bottom and center has firmed up, 2-3 minutes.

Got leftovers?  Store in the refrigerator.  Slice & eat cold, at room temperature, or, reheat in microwave.  Perfect for a school lunch box, brown bag lunch to the office, or late-night snack: 

IMG_3314Italian-Style Fried Spaghetti Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata:  Recipe yields 6-8 servings.

Special Equipment List:  hand-held egg beater or whisk; microplane grater; 10" nonstick skillet; thin nonstick spatula; wide nonstick spatula; 9" dinner plate

IMG_3257Cook's Note: The perfect foil means, the perfect background.  Paint anything edible into this photo and it will be great meal.  Tick, tock.  In the case of this super-versatile, 15-minute to make side-dish (Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta), truer words were never spoken. When you have no time to make another run to the grocery store but still have a hungry family to please ASAP, this is the perfect side to serve -- everyone loves pasta.  It goes great with a broiled chicken breast, a grilled pork chop, a pan-seared steak, a handful of steamed shrimp, etc.  Add a steamed green vegetable or whip up a simple garden salad and dinner is on the table, and, your day (pour the wine) is done. 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

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