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Pasta Frittata

June 08, 2021
Photo: Marcia FriedmanPhoto: Marcia Friedman

On my first visit to Rome, I was deeply engrossed in exploring everything Italian. But then, in touring around the Colosseum, my husband and I came upon the Arch of Titus, an ancient stone arch featuring carvings depicting Roman soldiers carrying a menorah and other items from the Jewish Temple after attacking Jerusalem in 70 CE. From the perspective of a Jewish convert with an Italian background, I found it hard to observe; the conflict felt personal, and disturbing.

Featured in: A Frittata That’s Fit for a Picnic


  • ½box (8 ounces) uncooked spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 1small bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), thoroughly rinsed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • ½cup crumbled ricotta salata (can substitute feta)
  • cup (generous) chopped fresh basil
  • 3tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4large eggs
  • ½cup whole milk
Yield: 4-6 servings


Recipe and photos courtesy of Marcia Friedman, author of Meatballs and Matzah Balls: Recipes and Reflections from a Jewish and Italian Life

  • Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to boil. Preheat the broiler.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, chop the broccoli rabe until you have 6 cups; place it in a large colander in the sink. Reserve the rest of the broccoli rabe (especially the thick stems) for another use.

  • Step 3

    Add 1/2 tablespoon or so of salt to the boiling water and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, but undercook it by 1 minute. Slowly pour the water and pasta over the broccoli rabe in the colander. Let sit for 1 minute to allow the greens to wilt. Leaving the greens in the colander, slide the pasta into a large bowl. Press down on greens to squeeze out any excess water before adding them to the pasta.

  • Step 4

    Toss the pasta-greens mixture with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, ricotta salata, basil, and pine nuts. Taste and add salt as needed and a generous amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper.

  • Step 5

    In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until they are a uniform light yellow color, 30-45 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

  • Step 6

    Warm a layer of olive oil in an approximately 9-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan to coat partly up the sides.

  • Step 7

    When hot, add the pasta mixture and loosely spread it out. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, just until the bottom strands start to turn golden brown. Pour eggs over top and use tongs or a fork to nudge the mixture gently in several places to evenly distribute the eggs.

  • Step 8

    Loosely cover the pan, turn heat to medium-low, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until mixture is mostly set (a little loose liquid on top is OK). Sprinkle frittata with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and place pan under the broiler. Broil 3 to 6 minutes, until top is set and cheese is melted (the frittata should reach 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

  • Step 9

    Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes. Loosen and slide the frittata onto a plate or cutting board. Slice into wedges and serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold.

  • This technique creates a crisp bottom crust and an appealing cheese-draped top. You’ll need an approximately 9-inch ovenproof skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet works well).