“This dish honours tradition and the fundamental Italian home cooking principle of not wasting food,” writes Silvia Colloca in the intro to the recipe for frittata di spaghetti.

Colloca would know – she’s an authority on Italian home cooking. The Italian-born, Sydney-based cook, food writer, TV producer and host has written six books on the topic, including her most recent one, the aptly named The Italian Home Cook, which this recipe comes from. Her latest book has 100 recipes, as well as a guide to shopping for Italian culinary goods.

The leftover here is spaghetti mixed through whatever sauce you made it with. “Tomato, ragu, puttanesca, carbonara are all fine,” she says, adding that the great thing about leftovers is the ingredients are given a new lease of life. And often become even more intriguing than the original recipe.”

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Colloca says you’re more likely to see leftover penne, fusilli and rigatoni used to make a new dish, such as a bake, rather than spaghetti. But this doesn’t mean it’s not made in Italy. In fact she says it’s a go-to for Neapolitan home cooks.

This dish is made like a frittata and uses a couple of low-cost ingredients you’re likely to have in your kitchen. “Throw in a few beaten eggs and some seasoning and transform it into a delicious, golden frittata,” Colloca says. “Think of it as the Neapolitan bubble and squeak.”

And her one tip when making it? “Don’t be scared to take that burnt golden crunch as far as it can go. Your palate will thank you for it.”

Frittata di spaghetti
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 4–6

6 eggs, beaten
35g (⅓ cup) freshly grated Parmigiano, plus extra to serve (optional)
100ml milk
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
300g cold leftover spaghetti (in any kind of sauce – tomato, ragu, puttanesca, carbonara are all fine)

80ml extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the eggs, cheese, milk and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the leftover spaghetti and combine.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 20cm non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Tip in the spaghetti and egg mixture and swirl it around to cover the base of the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until you can see the underside is turning golden brown. Slide the frittata onto a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. With one swift and confident movement, tip the frittata upside down into the pan so that the golden bottom is now on top. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then slide onto a serving plate.

Dust a little extra grated Parmigiano over the top, if you like, then cut into wedges and serve. This is excellent freshly prepared or served cold or room temperature.

This is an extract from The Italian Home Cook by Silvia Colloca, published by Plum, $44.99, photography by Rob Palmer. Out August 30. Buy it here.

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