Use Up Leftover Spaghetti In Your Next Breakfast Frittata

Like a choose-your-own-adventure game or the culinary equivalent of Mad Libs, frittatas offer a new experience each time you prepare them. This Italian egg dish is similar to an open-faced omelet or Spanish tortilla, and is delicious in any variation, especially when incorporating leftover spaghetti as a filling.

Spaghetti frittatas may sound unusual, but it's a classic dish that's immensely versatile. Whether your pasta is tossed with pesto, marinara, or carbonara, it will alter the flavor and texture of the egg dish, yet each version remains delectable — even plain noodles will do the trick. Using leftover pasta as a filling halves the meal's prep time, allowing you to serve a hearty breakfast in under 20 minutes. This dish can be made with freshly-prepared pasta, but consider making an extra ¼ pound of spaghetti while cooking dinner and use the leftovers in the next morning's meal.

While the dish is referred to as a spaghetti frittata, you can make it with any shape of leftover pasta, though long noodles like linguine, bucatini, and curly mafalda are simpler to handle. The nest of cooked pasta is held together by the beaten eggs, creating neat slices when serving. It's crucial to distribute the ingredients evenly in the pan to ensure uniform cooking. However, allowing some spaghetti strands to protrude from the top adds a crispy texture, offering a delightful contrast to the otherwise soft consistency of the egg dish.

Tips when preparing spaghetti frittatas

Spaghetti frittatas are prepared just like other frittata, without the extra step of sautéing veggies or meat for the filling. The leftover pasta and whatever sauce you dressed it in will flavor the dish, so you just need to mix it with beaten eggs. Use our pasta frittata recipe as a guide, combining two cups of cooked pasta with four eggs and some grated cheese. You can easily scale the recipe up for a bigger pan size if you are serving more people.

Like with any omelet, it's essential to preheat the fillings, particularly if there's meat in the leftover pasta. This step can be done in the microwave or in the skillet you'll use to bake the frittata (leaving one less dish to wash). Some recipes start on the stove and finish cooking in the oven, so make sure you use an oven-safe pan. A seasoned cast iron skillet is a good option, greased with some oil for nonstick insurance.  

Although cheese is not essential, it adds a lot of flavor and texture to the dish. It's important to choose a cheese that enhances the taste of your sauce. Parmesan is a natural choice and complements most sauces, adding a nutty umami flavor when caramelized. You can also use Gruyère, fontina, or cheddar, or to add a smoky flavor, try a baked spaghetti frittata with broccoli rabe and smoked mozzarella. 

Prepare spaghetti frittatas in different ways

Have you got a huge amount of leftover pasta, and making a spaghetti frittata hardly seems effective in using it up? Don't let it deter you — the recipe is quite adaptable. If you find yourself with close to a pound of leftover pasta, take it as a cue to prepare a comforting spaghetti pie, which is essentially a deep-dish version of a pasta frittata. Prepared in a springform pan, it offers ample space for adding extra meat, sautéed veggies, and other add-ins. Make it with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe, or go rogue and incorporate Sunday's Bolognese leftovers with spaghetti, meatballs, and even some boneless pork ribs.

If you're working a smaller amount of pasta or want to create individual servings, consider baking mini spaghetti frittatas in a muffin tin. Also known as egg bites, these breakfast treats are easy to prepare, but make sure to follow our tips to avoid common mistakes when making egg bites. Individual spaghetti frittatas are ideal for a brunch buffet, or preparing breakfast for the upcoming week. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days, and reheat them in the microwave whenever you need breakfast on the go.