I say “fritatta” and you say “frittata”

In Recipies on August 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I love chick flicks.

They give me an opportunity to do as I please while Mrs. Phyne Dyner gawps at the screen and dabs at her misty eyes in delight.

I suffered through the Harrison Ford flick, Morning Glory, until it got to the “good part”.

Never mind that a television journalist of the caliber of Ford’s character would never submit to the effects of vats of estrogen and spontaneously burst into song as he provides soft news and fluff for a morning “news” show.

My five-minute long version of Morning Glory ended with Ford’s character saying, “Here’s the number for my lawyers.  See ya!”

Melting Nazis was believable.  Stick to melting Nazis, Mr. Ford…or flying with Wookies.

At least his character mentioned fritatta (var. frittata).

Now we’re talkin’ peasant food!

Fritatta is an ancient Roman concoction of eggs, cheese, and whatever a Centurian could scrounge from his troops or the people the legions were subjugating.  Despite Ford’s character’s attempts to make fritatta appear “exotic”, the meal is easy to prepare and forms a the traditional afternoon meal for many Italian workers.

It had been years since I last made a fritatta.  My cast-iron fritatta pans remain packed away with the rest of my kitchen.

The pans are modest 6-inch cast skillets with deep sides.  They lend themselves to personal-size fritatta with individualized ingredients…

…and, they stand up to broiler heat!

Last Saturday evening, I looked forlornly in my refrigerator and saw a lone zucchini and hoped I would purpose it before it shriveled.  My potted basil was overtaking my deck and the pot of oregano was gaining on the basil.  My cheese drawer was full.  This could only mean:


I checked my other supplies and a dinner was born.

1 small zucchini, small dice

4 large cloves garlic, minced

6 extra large eggs

1/3 C white flour

¼ cup (packed) chopped (FRESH) oregano

½ cup (packed) chopped (FRESH) basil

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 oz pecorino Romano cheese

1 TBS olive oil

8 oz uncooked spaghetti

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti in lightly salted water to al dente.  Drain and rinse once before drizzling a bit of olive oil over it.  Set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over low-medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the zucchini and cook until soft, but not browned (about 7 minutes).  Stir in the garlic, reduce the heat to low, and cook for one more minute.  Remove zucchini and garlic from the pan and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are frothy.  Whisk in the flour, feta, basil, and oregano.  Arrange the spaghetti to uniform thickness in the skillet you cooked the zucchini in and pour the egg mixture over the spaghetti.  Place the skillet on medium-low to medium heat until the center just begins set (about 5-8 minutes).  Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and ground pepper.  Grate the pecorino Romano on top of the egg mixture using a fine MicroPlane.  Place in the oven for 8-12 minutes and remove when well set.

Pre-heat broiler.

Slide the fritatta pan under the broiler for 4-6 minutes (until the Romano cheese just begins to turn golden), watching carefully to avoid burning.  Remove carefully (!! the handle will be HOT !!) and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.  Slide the fritatta onto a pizza pan for cutting and serving.  Sprinkle lightly with more freshly ground pepper just before serving.

This serves well with a small lettuce salad and a crisp white wine.  Best of all, the leftover fritatta makes a substantial Morning Glory-esque breakfast with toasted Italian bread and cups of espresso.  Or, go Italian peasant and schlep the leftovers to work for a fast lunch.

HINT:  Anything in combination can be used for great fritatta.  I have seen them with pulled rotisserie chicken, proscutto, fish (!), and virtually every combination of vegetables.  Let your imagination run wild.  Not every fritatta contains spaghetti.  But, most of mine do.  It differentiates them from being called “crustless quiche”.


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