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How to make spinach frittata, a true Italian classic

The humble spinach frittata doesn't make it onto the menu of many restaurants outside Italy, but it's a staple of Italian home cooking, explains food writer Silvana Lanzetta.

How to make spinach frittata, a true Italian classic
Try your spinach fried. Photo: DepositPhotos

The spinach frittata is virtually unknown outside Italy, but ask any Italian friends you might have and they will go: “YUM!” 

Spinach frittata is one of the few dishes that has no regionality: it is a true Italian classic.

READ ALSO: The must-try foods from every region of Italy


Photo: DepositPhotos

My mum prepared it quite often, and when she did I would devour it in minutes. I now prepare it for my family, and everybody loves it (including my toddler, who can never eat too much of it).

It’s very easy and quick to make, and it’s delicious both cold or warm: it makes an excellent lunch box or picnic food. Spinach frittata can be served as a main, with a nice side of roasted potatoes, or cut into cubes and served as an entree.

Tips

If you want, you can add some ricotta to the spinach frittata: either you completely incorporate it to the eggs, or you add it after the spinach have been stirred in, so as to have pockets of ricotta dotted inside the frittata.

The frittata can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of three days.

Ingredients for 4 portions

500 g baby spinach
8 eggs
100 g grated parmesan
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil to cook

Method

1. Wash the spinach leaves, soaking them for 15 minutes in a bowl full of water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda. Rinse well and put them in a non-stick casserole, over medium heat. Do not add any water: the water on the leaves will be enough to cook them. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the spinach in a fine sieve and, with the back of a spoon, squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside to cool down.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with cheese, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir in the spinach, making sure it’s well distributed.

4. Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Pour the eggs in and let cook on low-medium heat until the bottom side is nice and golden. With the help of a large plate, flip over the frittata and cook the other side. Be careful not to drop it during this delicate manoeuvre (I’m guilty as charged!).

If you prefer, you can bake it: preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4, and let cook on the middle shelf for 30-40 minutes.

5. Once cooked, slice your spinach frittata into triangles and serve it either warm or cold: delicious either way!


Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private

Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.

Find out more at her website, Pastartist.com, including this recipe and others.

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FEATURE

Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara

It has just three ingredients, but a lot of bite: artisan pasta maker Silvana Lanzetta shares her recipe for the perfect carbonara sauce.

Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara
An authentic carbonara sauce has only three ingredients. Photo: Flickr/Wine Dharma

Pasta alla carbonara (literally translated as 'coal workers’ pasta') is one of the most well-known and loved Italian delicacies: the creaminess of the eggs contrasting with the crispy guanciale makes it a pleasure to eat.

The origins of carbonara sauce are still uncertain. However, the recipe doesn’t appear until 1944, which prompts some speculations on how this delicious recipe came to be.

READ ALSO: The original recipe for authentic bolognese sauce

The most widely recognized theory is that this beloved Italian dish is an American adaptation of the traditional cacio e ova: when the Allied troops were stationed in Italy toward the end of World War Two, they got fond of pasta cacio e pepe, but to give them a “back home” flavour, they added smoked bacon to the recipe.

Roman people enthusiastically adopted the new dish, and quickly added it to their cooking.

They swapped the bacon for guanciale (the fat from a pig’s cheek) as they already had pasta recipes using guanciale and Pecorino cheese, the other two being pasta alla gricia and bucatini all’amatriciana.

Tips

Don't use Parmesan cheese for this recipe. However, if you're having difficulties finding guanciale, pancetta can be used instead.

Never add cream to the recipe: the creaminess is given by the sheer amount of grated Pecorino – so don't skimp on it! 

READ ALSO: Silvana's ten golden rules for cooking pasta like the Italians

Ingredients

  • 360 g spaghetti
  • 120 g guanciale
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 150 g Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Step 1:
In a non-stick pan, fry the guanciale in its own fat until slightly crispy, taking care not to brown it too much.

Step 2:
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and the whole egg with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese until a thick cream is obtained. Add the cooked guanciale and reserve.

Step 3:
Cook the spaghetti al dente. Reserve about 100 ml of the cooking water. Drain the pasta well, and immediately pour the pasta into the bowl with the eggs. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg.

Step 4:
Add a little bit of the reserved cooking water, and mix well so as to coat all the pasta. If the sauce is still too dense, add some more cooking water. If too runny, stir in more cheese.

Step 5:
If necessary, season with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with extra grated Pecorino cheese.


Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private

Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.

Find out more at her website, Pastartist.com, including this recipe and others.

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