Pasta & Meatball Frittata

Last night, throwing caution to the wind, I finally made a frittata from left-over rigatoni and meatballs and even a hard-boiled egg. The egg found its way into this omelet when I mistook one of my husband’s hard-boiled eggs, stored in an egg carton, for a fresh one and tried to crack it open. Well, I thought, as long as I was taking a chance with the pasta, what harm could adding the egg do? Now, I’ve made plenty of pasta frittatas before, some of them chronicled on this blog. None, however, featured something like pasta with meatballs.

When I took the pasta from the fridge, about two cups of rigatoni and two meatballs, it looked rather dry, so I diluted a tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste with a little water to make an impromptu “sauce” for some added moisture. I heated up a non-stick skillet with a generous splash of olive oil and, over medium-heat, added the tomato paste for a quick cook. Then the pasta, cut-up meat balls, and chopped hard-boiled egg went in. Meanwhile, I whisked 6 eggs with a cup of grated Parmigiano, a handful of chopped parsley, along with some salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

After a light crust formed on the pasta, I added the egg mixture and, over a medium-low flame, cooked the frittata, pushing the cooked portion towards the center of the pan while letting the uncooked eggs slide down along the edges. When most of the eggs had set and the edges of the frittata had taken on some color, I placed a lightly oiled pizza pan over the skillet, flipped the frittata, and slid it back into the skillet to brown the uncooked side.

After 4 minutes or so, I transferred the finished frittata onto a cutting board. Putting all modesty aside, I must say it looked amazing. I cut it in halves and divided one of them between two plates, thinking that it, along with a salad, would be enough for dinner. However, the frittata was so good, we both went for second helpings and finished it off. “Why haven’t you made this before?” asked my husband.

Frittata slice

Thinking back on this effort, I sadly recall how, as a young cook, I eschewed serving anything leftover. Back then, I’d prepare elaborate three- or four-course dinners and anything uneaten found its way right into the trash. Only now I ponder what I could have done with those left-over braises and stews, baked pastas and gratins, . . . If you’re a new cook, or even an old one, don’t make the same mistake I did. Save all your leftovers, store them properly, and use a little culinary imagination to re-purpose them. More than likely, you’ll be glad you did.

3 thoughts on “Musing: Regretting My Prodigal Youth

  1. I agree completely, Roland. Some of our best culinary inventions come from working with leftovers: frittata, risotto, soups, stews — even hashes, which we think are a greatly under-rated family of dishes. Anything we can’t re-use that way but still seems to have some flavor and nutrition left in it takes its place in our “soup scrap bag,” which live in the freezer until it holds enough to may broth — and that can be quite delicious. Good food should never be discarded until it’s given its all.
    Best, Tom

    1. Thanks, Tom. I’m intrigued by your “soup scrap bag” and plan on starting one soon. It makes me think about so many flavorful odds and ends I have after prep that all too often get tossed away.

      1. Exactly! And you wind up with a plentiful supply of good broth, which can also be frozen and kept on hand for all sorts of uses. For that reason, I always ask my butcher for any bones he’s trimming off my purchase.

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