Upside down frittata di spaghetti (spaghetti pie) ready to be wrapped in aluminum foil and taken to a party.

Upside down frittata di spaghetti (spaghetti pie) ready to be wrapped in aluminum foil and taken to a party.

Frittata di maccheroni at Ristorante Mattozzi in Naples.

Frittata di maccheroni at Ristorante Mattozzi in Naples.

Neapolitan food has changed more than those of us who love Naples would like to admit. Walk around the ritzy Chiaia district at night and you'll find more sushi and burger joints than you will restaurants serving pasta fajole. But at home, what's inside the traditional copper pot is sacred. Yes, Italians still do eat pasta on Sundays and when there is too much, they transform it into something entirely new like frittata di spaghetti or spaghetti pie.

There's no orthodox recipe. Leftover spaghetti or whatever pasta you have with all the sauce, cheese or meat you enjoyed it with is simply mixed with beaten eggs. At Mattozzi in Naples, a restaurant devoted to Neapolitan classics, the frittata di maccheroni is always a little different. Chunks of cheese nest inside rigatoni holes while bits of ham and sausage tend to sink to the bottom. In keeping with their home cooking ethos, the frittata is always made in a cast iron skillet that was undoubtedly primed with sizzling lard. 

On the beaches of Naples or Ischia, don't be surprised if you see Italian bathers peeling aluminum foil off of a frittata di spaghetti. It's common to make a spaghetti pie for such purposes from scratch with just cooked pasta and eggs and maybe a little sugar sprinkled on top. Easily transported, and fine to eat hot or cold, it's ideal picnic food. Even on the posh sands of Bagno Elena in Posillipo, you won't hear the locals fretting over carbs. Frittata di spaghetti is Neapolitan soul food.

Bagno Elena in the Posillipo district of Naples The name comes from the Greek Pausílypon which means "respite from worry."

Bagno Elena in the Posillipo district of Naples The name comes from the Greek Pausílypon which means "respite from worry."

Frittata di Spaghetti or Spaghetti Pie (To take to the beach)

Frittata di spaghetti finished under the broiler rather than flipped in the pan.

Frittata di spaghetti finished under the broiler rather than flipped in the pan.

Ingredients

1 lb thick spaghetti or bucatini

6 large eggs

1 cup of pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano, grated

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

Cook spaghetti until al dente, drain and let cool for 20 minutes.

Beat the eggs into a large bowl and then pour over the spaghetti. Add the cheese. Mix everything together with tongs until all the pasta is well coated.

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick or cast iron pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, dump the entire mixture into the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg toward the bottom of the pain starts to set.

Traditionally, the frittata is then flipped in the pan. I instead remove the pan from the stove and place it under the broiler for 3 minutes to cook the top portion. (It's easier!)

Finish by sprinkling with more cheese for a savory pie or a bit of a sugar for a sweet one.

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