Italian Frittata – The Slow Cooking Omelette

A thick omelette packed with flavour, the Italian Frittata is cooked slowly over a low heat, until just set. It can then be cut into wedges to be enjoyed with salad and a glass of wine, or sandwiched into a crusty roll as a filling frittata panino. The only thing it really has in common with its cousin, the quick cooked French omelette, is that it is made in a pan with eggs as the main ingredient!

While it takes longer to cook and so is not the instant supper dish that the French omelette is renowned for being, the frittata is just as easy to prepare and can happily cook away unsupervised while you make a salad and set the table. Its fillings can be every bit as varied as the French omelette and it is a superb way of using up tasty leftovers and transforming them into an appetising meal. In fact the Italians often use up leftover sauced pasta, especially spaghetti, in their frittatas to great effect.

You can use your regular omelette pan, as long as it has a heavy base, or any heavy based pan that can go from hob to oven/grill for finishing off.

The ingredients below will fill a 20 cm pan and serve 4 as a light supper with salad and bread, or two more hearty eaters.

  1. Prepare the fillings. Warm up any leftovers or cook any fresh filling ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs (if using), grated parmesan and chopped herbs and mix in well.
  4. Drain the warmed filling of any liquid or oil and tip it into the egg mix, stirring till all coated.
  5. Warm a little butter or olive oil in a 20-23 cm heavy based pan over a low heat. Swirl it so that the whole surface is coated.

  6. Tip the mixture in to the pan and allow to cook gently for 15-20 minutes until the bottom has set and just the top surface is runny. Finish under a hot grill for about 2 minutes until the top is golden and set. (If you don’t have a grill or it is not convenient to use it, you can flip the frittata as described in the Spanish tortilla recipe)
  7. Cut into 4 thick wedges and serve hot or cold with salad and crusty bread.
  8. Quantities and ingredients are endlessly versatile as long as you stick to the basic method and cook over a slow heat. You can double the ingredients and cook in a larger pan to feed more people. You can even cook the whole thing in a medium oven if you are challenged for hob space.
Filling Suggestions

1-2 cups of filling are enough for the quantities above