Spagittata

Spagittata - frittata with a backbone

Luca asked me what we were having for dinner last night. “A frittata with pasta,” I informed him. “We could call it a spagittata,” he suggested. (I am heartened by the fact that he likes to make up words as much as I do.) Luca then went on to tell me how excited he was because he is not crazy about frittata, but add some pasta and he may be sold on the concept. I could toss some pasta with sliced shoe leather and he would be sold on the concept. The kid loves his pasta.

In its first morph, the spagittata did not live up to expectations. When trying a new recipe, I attempt to stick to the original as much as possible the first time around. Then, I rate it (out of 5 stars) and note possible changes for next time. This time I made three changes out of necessity and prudence . . . I should have listened to my gut and made two more for the sake of flavor. The recipe calls for arugula, which excited me because I love arugula and I happened to be at Kroger when the produce people were marking it down drastically. A good sized container went from $5 to .75. When I got home, I discovered it was too far gone to use. Into the compost bin it went. I had a bit of spinach in the fridge so I used that instead. The original recipe also calls for 2/3 cup of cream – copious amounts of cream the little, old German woman in me decided. So, I cut that down to 1/3 cup. And, there is the ONE cup of Parmesan. I reduced that to 1/2 cup.

The resulting spagittata made Luca imitate this commercial:

which brings me to what I should have done. I should have substituted basil for the mint because as is, the thing tasted like a not-as-strong egg version of a peppermint patty. It needed more salt as well. The thing with frittatas (or is it frittati?) is, it is difficult to check seasoning because it is mostly raw eggs. There have been times when I have under and over seasoned. This time was under. And, it doesn’t matter if you add salt when it is on the plate. It is too late to infuse the eggs with those precious little grains of flavor boost.

I’m not done with this recipe yet. I will try, try again – mostly because I can’t let a good, made-up name go to waste.

Spagittata
adapted from Fine Cooking
serves 6
Kosher salt
3 oz. uncooked dried spaghetti (or 1-1/3 cups cooked)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small shallots, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced crosswise
2 oz. (about 2 cups lightly packed) fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
8 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)
1/3 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (use the large holes on a box grater)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint (Next time I will use basil instead – see above.)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons sliced chives

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and let cool. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In an ovenproof 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened and lightly golden, about 8?minutes. Add the arugula and toss with tongs until wilted, about 1 minute. With a heatproof spatula, scrape the arugula mixture and any fat left in the pan into the bowl with the pasta. Toss lightly to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 tsp. salt (I will increase this to 1 teaspoon next time), and several grinds of pepper. Add the pasta mixture, Parmesan, mint, parsley, and chives. Mix gently but thoroughly.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1/2 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, add the egg mixture. Use the heatproof spatula to gently distribute the ingredients evenly. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the eggs have set just along the outside edge of the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is puffed, golden, and set, 22 to 24 minutes.

Let the frittata cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Run the spatula gently around the edge and underneath the frittata, and slide it onto a cutting board. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with pan-fried and steamed broccoli.

While the frittata baked, I broke two bunches of broccoli into bite-size florets and sauteed them in 1/2-1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. I seasoned the broccoli with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, a few grind of pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. When it turned bright green and was brown in spots, I put a few tablespoons of water in the pan and put a lid on it and steamed to desired tenderness. This is my favorite way to prepare broccoli!  

Ratings:

Scott:  B (“It needs something.”)

Me:  B- (See above for explanation)

Luca:  B- (See above for explanation)

Alia:  A? (I am not sure she really thought it was an A. She ate it all, but it was a dessert night so that could explain it.)

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