Italian Springtime Favorite: Frittatas

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Frittatas are a popular Italian dish, associated with springtime and with Lent.  They are eaten at any time of the day, and can be made with a wide variety of ingredients.  In addition to eggs, they usually feature cheese and often some kinds of vegetables.  Instead of being folded over like omelets, frittatas are served open-faced, usually sliced like pizza or pie.  You start out cooking them on the stove and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking.  Here is a basic frittata recipe followed by some ingredients to add to this recipe to make a variety of themed frittatas.

Basic Frittata Recipe

8 eggs (more or less as you choose)

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter

½ cup shredded cheese of choice (such as mozzarella, cheddar, etc.)

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1 cup of additions of choice (see below)

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare additional ingredients as needed (see below), and set aside).  In a large bowl, beat eggs, salt and pepper.  Mix in cheese and additional ingredients.  Heat olive oil or butter in skillet on stove.  Pour egg mixture into pan, cover and cook about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pan (don’t stir or flip mixture).  Once the edges are cooked and the top is still slightly runny, remove pan from stove, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, place uncovered pan in oven, and cook about 10 minutes (or until the top is set and the frittata looks nice and fluffy).  Remove from pan, slice, and serve.  Optional: top with sliced avocado.

Here are some variations on the classic frittata.  Add these to the above recipe:

Fall Harvest Frittata – 1 small squash, ½ eggplant, 1 zucchini, ½ cup mushrooms, ½ white onion, all chopped

Frittata Primavera – 8 asparagus spears, 1 red bell pepper, ½ white onion, all chopped, 1 cup broccoli pieces, ½ cup peas

Frittata Milanese – ¼ cup mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 teaspoon saffron, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 cup prepared risotto, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ cup chopped celery, ¼ cup chopped scallions, top with additional grated Parmesan

Tuscan Frittata – 1 cup chopped tomatoes, ¼ pound chopped prosciutto (or ham), ½ cup chopped mushrooms, ½ cup spinach, ½ cup pecorino cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top)

Roman Frittata – 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1/3 cup chopped onions, 2 to 3 cloves minced garlic, ½ teaspoon rosemary, ½ teaspoon sage, ½ teaspoon bay leaves, 1 cup prepared and crumbled pancetta (or bacon), 1/3 cup pecorino cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top)

Frittata Napoli – ½ chopped eggplant, ½ cup sundried tomatoes, ½ cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1/3 cup sliced black olives, ½ cup chopped salami or pepperoni, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon rosemary

Pizza Frittata – 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1 cup chopped pepperoni, 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon basil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, more shredded mozzarella to sprinkle on top

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