Let's talk leftovers! While your instinct may sometimes be to overlook your meal on the second day -- after all, its a bit been there, done that, sometimes not quite as good after a night tucked in to a Tupperware in the fridge -- think again! Leftovers have the potential to be reinvented, becoming the base for a completely different and delicious dish. A surplus of mashed potatoes or squash are excellent when revived as savory pancakes; risotto, never as good as it is when eaten fresh off the stove, makes a surprise comeback as crispy, cheesy supplì. This also applies to leftover ingredients -- the now slightly dry loaf of bread you didn't finish at dinner last night can be reborn as canederli, panzanella, french toast, stuffing, croutons, or bread pudding; leftover wine goes great in a hearty ragù or, if you're in the mood for something sweet, a red wine chocolate cake or truffles; that bunch of overly ripe bananas are given a second chance in the form of banana bread.
The frittata di pasta is a Neapolitan dish, one that came about as a way to, you guessed it, make use of leftover pasta (which I find inevitably dries out in the fridge and is never quite what it was the next day). That being said, I think you'll find yourself making more pasta than necessary on purpose once you've tried it -- it's pretty darn good. Here we've got our aforementioned spaghetti, revitalized and reminiscent of carbonara in its eggy-ness, dotted with pockets of gooey scamorza that contrast nicely with the sharp salty bite of the Parmesan cheese. A sprinkling of Springy green asparagus adds a little freshness and color, and the bits of spaghetti on the top become extra crispy and brown, contrasting splendidly with the fluffy frittata interior. This is perfect served warm or at room temperature, for lunch, dinner, or even brunch, and the leftovers of this frittata made of leftovers are great the next day, too. Bottom line: if you have vegetarian friends who need feeding and pasta to use up, well, then we've killed two birds with one stone. This is the recipe for you.
A couple of notes: This recipe is super flexible. Feel free to use any cut of long pasta you want here -- bucatini, tagliatelle, or fettuccine should work great. I imagine a shorter cut could work too, but you might want to chop the pasta up a bit. Leave out the lemon zest if you want (I think it adds a nice freshness but you might not have it on hand) or substitute Pecorino for the Parmesan, or mozzarella, provolone, or anything else you want for the scamorza. Use any kind of vegetable you'd like, or use half an onion instead of a shallot. If you're not making this with vegetarians in mind, feel free to add a bit of pancetta, bacon, sausage, or guanciale. If you have leftover pasta that has sauce on it, no matter! The flavor of this frittata will just be different, and you'll want to adapt the other ingredients you add in to match it. Lastly, you can also bake this in greased muffin tins for mini frittate di spaghetti.
Be sure to check out the vegetarian recipes prepared by my fellow Cucina Conversations bloggers!:
Rosemarie over at Turin Mamma has prepared carciofi trifolati which are both vegan and vegetarian!;
Daniela of La Dani Gourmet is sharing her recipe for farrotto (risotto-style spelt) della Garfagnana, carciofi e pecorino;
Lisa aka Italian Kiwi has made a torta salata con zucca e radicchio;
Carmen at The Heirloom Chronicles has fried up some crochette di patate e cicoria;
Flavia from Flavia's Flavors is sharing a recipe for torta rustica di spinaci;
Last but not least Marialuisa over at Marmellata di Cipolle has made pasticcio di bieta e formaggio.
FRITTATA DI SPAGHETTI E ASPARAGI
1/4 pound (112 grams) uncooked spaghetti (about 1/2 pound or 224 grams cooked)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 large spears asparagus, tough ends cut off, and sliced diagonally
1 cup (110 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (about 85 grams) scamorza cheese, diced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
If you're starting from scratch here: cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain the pasta and toss it in a bowl with two tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside.