Centuries ago, pasta was sold by street vendors and eaten as fast food by the Neapolitan working class who could barely afford good ingredients, much less utensils. They would use their hands to feed themselves long strands of spaghetti, which they would hold above their heads and lower into their open mouths in lieu of using a fork. Posters and paintings decorating the walls of Italian trattorias show this uniquely Neapolitan custom. Always creative and curious, Neapolitans eventually invented a way to make a portion of spaghetti truly portable: by cooking it with eggs into a sort of omelet, which could be cut into slices for enjoying on the go. There's nothing more satisfying than whipping up a frittata before hitting the beach and devouring it by the slice while you are sunbathing.
Technique tip: The frittata flip in this recipe requires a bit of practice. If you don't want to flip the frittata, you can finish cooking it in the oven. When you put the water for the pasta on to boil, preheat the oven to 375 F. Then cook the frittata on the stovetop in an ovenproof pan. Once the eggs begin to set around the edges, remove from the heat and transfer to the oven. Bake the frittata until the edges start to come away from the sides of the pan and the frittata is totally set in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the frittata to cool before serving. To unmold, run a spatula around the edges and underneath the frittata and slide it onto a serving plate.
Swap option: You can use alternate pasta shapes like ziti or pennoni.
- sea salt
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup cubed (1/4-inch) salami
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing
- fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Season with salt until the water taste like seasoned soup.2.
Drop in the pasta and cook until al dente.3.
Drain the pasta and return to the pot with the butter, stirring to coat.4.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, a pinch of pepper, the Parmigano-Reggiano, salami, mozzarella and a heavy pinch of salt.5.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 12-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil.6.
Transfer the pasta in an even layer to the pan.7.
Pour the egg mixture over the pasta.8.
Set the pan over low heat and cook until the edges are set, and the center is mostly cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.9.
Gently slide the frittata out of the pan and onto a plate using a spatula. The uncooked top of the frittata will be facing up.10.
Carefully invert the skillet over the plate and in one quick movement, flip over the pan and plate together. The frittata should be in the pan with the cooked side facing up.11.
Return the pan to low heat and cook until the bottom of the frittata begins to turn golden, about 6 minutes.12.
Use a heatproof spatula to lift the edge of the frittata to check for doneness.13.
Remove from heat and allow the frittata to rest for a few minutes before slicing.14.
Serve warm or at room temperature cut into wedges garnish with fresh basil leaves.