Where My Spaghetti Frittata Came From

My Apartment Building in Trastevere

My Apartment Building in Trastevere

I just entered the address I lived at in Rome and got a street-view image from Google. That is so wacky!

I lived there many years ago with a Roman woman named Enrica (at first she was Grazia, but then changed her name to Enrica). She became like a sister to me. Enrica grew up in Rome then moved out of her parents’ house when she was 17 to live on her own. In those days (and maybe even these days) nobody did that. You leave your parents’ home when you get married. Even her brother who got divorced moved back in with his parents.

Enrica’s parents disowned her because of that independent move. But they eventually re-owned her. She was a suffering free spirit if you can imagine that. But we knew how to giggle together all night long.

We’d go on walks at midnight through Trastevere’s small streets. She’d know friends to visit at that hour and we’d enter homes with full, but quiet, parties in deep conversation, music playing, cigarettes smoking, giggling.

Enrica wasn’t an avid cook, but there are a few dishes she made without thinking that really stuck with me. Spaghetti Frittata is one of them.

Spaghetti Frittata

Spaghetti Frittata

At first I couldn’t imagine that it could be any good. But one day she mixed up a couple of eggs with last night’s spaghetti (sauce and all), put it in a frying pan with olive oil and suddenly it turned into a round perfect “cake”…and the taste: oh, yeah…nothing crazy about this idea. Try it!!

Spaghetti Frittata

4-5 large eggs

about 2 cups leftover spaghetti, already sauced (any sauce)

¼ cup grated cheese (pecorino or parmigiano)

salt & pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven broiler.

Lightly beat the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add spaghetti and cheese. Season with salt & pepper. Mix well.

Use a medium-sized skillet with a metal handle. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the egg mixture and spread out to evenly cover skillet. Lower heat to medium and let cook until the bottom is set. Place skillet in oven under broiler for about 4 minutes until golden.

IMPORTANT: remember to use a potholder when taking out the skillet…it’s easy to forget you have an oven-hot skillet and just grab the handle as if it was on the stove. After skillet is out of oven, leave pot holder on handle as a reminder.

Loosen frittata with a spatula and slide onto a dinner-sized plate. Cut in wedges like a pizza. Serve warm or at room temperature.

See what I mean?

Here’s earlier me in always-earlier-than-most-cities (by 2000 years) Rome:

with some nuns at the Trevi Fountain

with some nuns at the Trevi Fountain

donning my disguise in front of a garlic truck

donning my disguise in front of a garlic truck

When Spaghetti Hangs Around With Eggs. In Rome.

 

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I lived in Rome for a year while completing my third year in college. Actually, school was just an excuse to live there. My parents visited Rome for the first time a couple of years before. They were bowled over and came back booking the next trip to bring my sister and I. On my very first night in Rome I felt the world closing in around my heart and head. It was too much. I wanted out. I felt that crush of culture shock while that tug of “I know this very well” rushed underneath me.

By morning. I was in love. With Rome. I finagled a year there under the guise of going to school. My Roman roommate, Grazia (later to be called Enrica), was a free-spirited Roman, much to the chagrin of her parents. She moved out of her family home at 17 to live on her own. No one moved out of their family home unless they were getting married. Her dad disowned her for a few years but softened later.

Many adventures for me ensued under the wings of Grazia, but also within my college circle. But here I’d like to show you a recipe that made my jaw drop when I first saw Grazia make it. Spaghetti Frittata. Yes, spaghetti fried with eggs. A spaghetti omelet if you will. I loved it at first bite but was supremely skeptical till then.

This works best with leftover spaghetti in its leftover sauce — whatever it is! My favorite has turned out to be leftover spaghetti in a tomato shrimp sauce (yes, including the shrimp).

about 2-3 cups leftover spaghetti in sauce

5 large eggs

1/4 cup grated parmigiano or pecorino

salt & pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

In a mixing bowl, mix together the spaghetti, eggs, and cheese until well combined. Season with salt & pepper (remember, the spaghetti might be already seasoned, but the eggs need some). Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium oven-proof skillet…enough so the frittata won’t stick, or use a non-stick pan.  Heat until hot. Pour the egg-spaghetti mixture in and gently spread so it covers the width of the pan. Let cook a few minutes until the bottom is set, and then put under a broiler. Broil till top is set and golden. (Be carfeul taking out skillet from oven. When placing it out of the oven be sure to leave a pot holder on the handle so you don’t forget it’s hot!) With a spatula loosen frittata and slide onto a plate. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. Serve warm or at room temp.

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