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WHAT SHE'S HAVING

Recipe: Her Roman Jewish grandmother made this easy, wonderful spaghetti frittata every Sabbath

Nonna Emma’s Spaghetti Frittata from “Jewish Flavours of Italy: A Family Cookbook”Barbara Toselli

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course

Nonna Emma is the grandmother of Silvia Nacamulli, author of "Jewish Flavours of Italy." Her Roman Jewish nonna served this wonderful spaghetti frittata to her family on the Sabbath. You can make two small ones or one larger one (explained here). A nonstick skillet will guarantee that the frittata will slide out. You mix commercial tomato puree or sauce with cooked spaghetti and fry the mixture in the skillet until the underside browns. Then invert a plate onto the pan, turn both over, and ease the frittata back into the skillet to finish browning. Nacamulli, who lives in London, was born and raised in Rome. She can trace back 16 generations in Italy on her mother's side; half that on her father's, she writes. Her book has an outstanding history section and very interesting food.

  • 1

    clove garlic, halved

  • 4

    tablespoons olive oil

  • 1

    can (10 ounces) tomato puree or sauce

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 6

    ounces spaghetti

  • 1

    egg, lightly beaten

  • 1

    sprig fresh basil, leaves coarsely chopped

  • 1. In a skillet, combine the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set over low heat and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown.

  • 2. Add the tomato puree or sauce with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir well, partially cover the pan, and set over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic from the pan.

  • 3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is tender but still has some bite.

  • 4. Drain the spaghetti into a colander and return it to the pan. Add the tomato mixture. Stir well. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

  • 5. Stir the egg and basil into the spaghetti mixture until it is thoroughly blended.

  • 6. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot, add the spaghetti mixture. Cook over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown. (Lift it with a large rubber spatula to check the edges.) During cooking, use the rubber spatula to smooth the sides of the frittata as it cooks so it makes a perfect round.

  • 7. Invert a large flat plate over the skillet. Holding the plate and skillet firmly with oven mitts, turn them together so the skillet is upside down and the frittata is sitting on the plate. Slide the frittata back into the pan. Set the skillet back on medium heat. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown. (Total cooking time is 15 to 17 minutes.)

  • 8. Slide the frittata onto a clean flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Jewish Flavours of Italy”

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course

Nonna Emma is the grandmother of Silvia Nacamulli, author of "Jewish Flavours of Italy." Her Roman Jewish nonna served this wonderful spaghetti frittata to her family on the Sabbath. You can make two small ones or one larger one (explained here). A nonstick skillet will guarantee that the frittata will slide out. You mix commercial tomato puree or sauce with cooked spaghetti and fry the mixture in the skillet until the underside browns. Then invert a plate onto the pan, turn both over, and ease the frittata back into the skillet to finish browning. Nacamulli, who lives in London, was born and raised in Rome. She can trace back 16 generations in Italy on her mother's side; half that on her father's, she writes. Her book has an outstanding history section and very interesting food.

1clove garlic, halved
4tablespoons olive oil
1can (10 ounces) tomato puree or sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
6ounces spaghetti
1 egg, lightly beaten
1sprig fresh basil, leaves coarsely chopped

1. In a skillet, combine the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set over low heat and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown.

2. Add the tomato puree or sauce with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir well, partially cover the pan, and set over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic from the pan.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is tender but still has some bite.

4. Drain the spaghetti into a colander and return it to the pan. Add the tomato mixture. Stir well. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

5. Stir the egg and basil into the spaghetti mixture until it is thoroughly blended.

6. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot, add the spaghetti mixture. Cook over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown. (Lift it with a large rubber spatula to check the edges.) During cooking, use the rubber spatula to smooth the sides of the frittata as it cooks so it makes a perfect round.

7. Invert a large flat plate over the skillet. Holding the plate and skillet firmly with oven mitts, turn them together so the skillet is upside down and the frittata is sitting on the plate. Slide the frittata back into the pan. Set the skillet back on medium heat. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown. (Total cooking time is 15 to 17 minutes.)

8. Slide the frittata onto a clean flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Jewish Flavours of Italy”


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com.