Recipe A Day #28: Broccoli and Elbow Pasta Frittata

Readers, we're really getting down to the end of June's Recipe A Day trial, and today's recipe, a simple but not-quite-ordinary frittata, is a textbook type of dish you'll find here at Casual Kitchen.

We've seen frittata recipes elsewhere here at CK, and in fact one of our frittata recipes dates back to the earliest days of CK (uh, and it shows). What's so great about frittatas? They’re easy, they're inexpensive, and you can put into it practically whatever foods you happen to have on hand. Best of all it's a complete, balanced meal.

And (assuming there's any left over) a wedge of frittata microwaves perfectly the next day... providing yet another delicious meal in just seconds.

Today's Broccoli and Elbow Pasta Frittata has yet another twist: with the elbow pasta it's almost a cross between a frittata and mac and cheese! You're going to love it.

Broccoli and Elbow Pasta Frittata

1 cup elbow pasta, cooked
about 1 -1.5 cups broccoli florets, steamed
2-3 Tablespoons oil
1 onion
5-8 ounces of meat of your choice, chicken, sausage, etc., optional
7 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ to ⅓ cup parmesan cheese

1) Cook pasta according to directions and also steam broccoli florets until just cooked to your liking.

2) Place eggs, salt, black pepper and milk in a separate bowl. Whisk until well-combined.

3) Meanwhile, in a large, deep, non-stick pan, saute onion (and optional meat) in oil on medium-high heat until onion is soft and beginning to brown and meat is cooked through. Then, add cooked pasta, steamed broccoli and parmesan cheese to pan. Combining well and make sure everything is well-heated through.

4) Next, add egg mixture to pan, shaking and tilting pan so the eggs are well distributed throughout. Cover and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until the frittata sets. Then place pan, uncovered, about 3-4 inches below your oven's broiler for an additional 7-10 minutes, until the frittata is fully cooked through and beginning to brown on top.

Serves 4.
Recipe Notes:
1) Meat or meatless ideas: Another key advantage of frittatas is you can make them with or without meat--either way, it's a complete meal. We've made this recipe the first time with sliced-up spicy Italian sausage, and the second time with cubes of boneless chicken thighs. In both cases we simply sauteed the meat with the onions. Obviously you could use pork, beef, beans or even tofu in this recipe too.

2) Spicing variations: Some spicing ideas:

* A minimalist frittata with simple black pepper and salt
* Spicy southwest version: cayenne, mild chili powder and cumin
* Poultry lover's special: thyme and poultry seasoning
* Italian lover's special: with extra basil and oregano
* Fresh garden herbs: fresh parsley and fresh basil, chopped and added to the egg mixture.

3) Oven-safe pan? The pan we used is technically not oven-safe, but you really don't need an oven-safe pan to do the few minutes of broiling required of this recipe. Our solution is simply to leave the oven door partially open and have the pan handle sticking outside the oven so it isn't exposed to the broiler's heat. The potentially meltable pan handle will be perfectly safe over the few minutes the frittata is in there. If you look at the last photo in my How to Make a Simple Frittata post you'll see exactly what I mean.

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