Dive into the flavours of Naples with frittata di maccheroni, a mouthwatering spaghetti omelette that’s both hearty and versatile. Perfect for picnics or cosy nights in, this dish is guaranteed to impress. Let’s get cooking!

Servings

 

4

Ready In:

 

20 min

Calories:

 

533

Good For:

 

Picnics

About this Recipe

By: Silvana Lanzetta

Frittata di maccheroni – that’s a dish that warms the heart and brings a smile to the face of every Neapolitan. It’s such a simple dish, yet delightful. Growing up, my mom would whip up this delicious treat for a quick lunch, even though it’s traditionally a picnic dish.

I have fond memories of those warm Sundays when my family would escape the city heat and head to Mount Vesuvius. My sister and I would run around, giggling and gathering gorse flowers, which grow abundantly on the slopes of the volcano.

When hunger and exhaustion caught up with us, we’d race back to our mum, who’d be waiting with our much-anticipated lunch. And what else would it be but frittata di maccheroni? This humble yet scrumptious dish has gained quite a following outside of Italy too, where it’s known as the spaghetti omelette.

frittata di maccheroni
Vesuvius slopes covered in gorse flowers

Vesuvius covered with gorse flowers

Wines

mangiamaccheroni

Two Neapolitan street children eating maccheroni, early 1900’s.

As a proud Neapolitan, I have to let you in on a little secret – we don’t actually call it a spaghetti omelette. You see, in Napoli, we refer to long pasta as “maccherone,” staying true to the ancient name for pasta. So, the real name for this dish is frittata di maccheroni, or macaroni omelette.

From Humble Origins

Now, the origins of this scrumptious dish are all about making the most of what we have. You know, those leftovers from the day before? They became the stars of this recipe, created as a clever way to repurpose and elevate humble ingredients. It all began with the cry of the macaroni seller, ‘o maccarunaro, who sold pasta at the market. These macaroni, topped with a simple tomato sauce and a sprinkle of pecorino, were often enjoyed on the go with just two fingers as a makeshift fork. When there were leftovers, the housewives transformed into a hearty lunch, complete with eggs and cheese, for the head of the family to enjoy at work.
 
Frittata di maccheroni gained its iconic status in the late nineteenth century. It became the go-to meal for outings to picturesque spots like Capri, Ischia, Sorrento, and Mount Vesuvius.

To the aristocratic tables

And, as is often the case, the humble macaroni omelette found its way into the kitchens of Neapolitan aristocrats. In fact, Franco Santasilia di Torpino shares a decadent version of the dish in his book, “La cucina Aristocratica Napoletana.” Dubbed “Macaroni cake with basil,” this rendition is stuffed with provola and ham, and infused with the fragrant aroma of fresh basil.
 
Over the years, countless variations of the macaroni omelette have emerged, catering to every taste. You’ll find simple versions with just eggs, or those with tomatoes and peas. Some even incorporate fish, or feature courgettes and provolone del monaco.
frittata di maccheroni -spaghetti and eggs
Best Italian cheeses - mozzarella di bufala

Nutrition

 

This frittata di maccheroni is a delightful and hearty meal. It contains a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrates. Although the recipe is relatively high in fat, it comes from various sources. Enjoy this traditional Neapolitan dish in moderation as part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet.

  • Proteins 24% 24%
  • Carbs 24% 24%
  • Fats 42% 42%
frittata di maccheroni close up

The Ingredients

Pasta

You know, when it comes to making the perfect frittata di maccheroni, the choice of pasta is key. Traditionally, we go for long, thin pasta like spaghetti, linguine, vermicelli, or tonnarelli. Not only does it make the frittata look amazing, but it also gives it that sturdy structure, making it a breeze to slice and serve. If you opt for short pasta, your frittata will be crumbly, and you’ll need to add more eggs to hold everything together. So, stick with the traditional long pasta and enjoy a delicious, well-textured frittata di maccheroni!

Fillings
That’s where the magic happens in a frittata di maccheroni. I love adding cubed Neapolitan salami, which has a peppery kick that brings the dish to life. Can’t find Neapolitan salami? No worries! Lardons or cubed pancetta make a great substitute. If you prefer a milder taste, cooked ham is a fantastic choice too. Feel free to get creative with your fillings (although, I’d advise against chicken as it’s a bit too mild for this dish).
 
Now, let’s talk about my all-time favourite filling: mozzarella. I can’t imagine making this frittata without it! But here’s the key: moderation. You want enough gooey cheese to tantalise your taste buds without turning the dish into a cheesy mess. My rule of thumb is to use half the weight of the pasta, so for 400 grams of pasta, you’ll need 200 grams of mozzarella. And hey, if you’re in the mood for a simpler version, you can always skip the fillings altogether – your frittata will still be deliciously satisfying!

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Eggs
Eggs play a crucial role in our frittata di maccheroni, not just adding flavour but also keeping the pasta together. But the secret is not to go overboard with the eggs – we want the spotlight to shine on the spaghetti, after all! For 400 grams of pasta, 4-5 eggs should do the trick, providing enough structure without overpowering the dish. And don’t worry, the frittata will hold together thanks to the starchy goodness of the pasta.
 
If you’re curious about a vegan twist, there’s a fantastic alternative. It’s called scammaro, and was actually created for the lent period. All you need to do is fry the boiled spaghetti in a pan, gently pressing it down with a spatula as it cooks. Pro tip: using pasta cooked the day before works wonders for this recipe, as it’s already compacted and ready to create a scrumptious, egg-free frittata!
Seasoning
Seasoning your frittata di maccheroni is all about finding the perfect balance of flavours. Freshly ground black pepper and a generous helping of grated Parmesan or Pecorino (or even a mix of both) will take your dish to a whole new level. Blend the grated cheese, pepper, and salt into the beaten eggs, and you’re set!
 
But a word of caution when it comes to salting. Both Parmesan and Pecorino pack quite a salty punch on their own, so you’ll want to tread lightly. There’s nothing worse than an over-salted dish. A pinch or two should be enough to bring out all those fantastic flavours without overdoing it.
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frittata di maccheroni (spaghetti omelette slice)

Frittata di Maccheroni


  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x

Description

Discover frittata di maccheroni—a delectable Neapolitan spaghetti omelette that’s perfect for any occasion.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 400 grams of spaghetti
  • 5 large eggs
  • 5 generous tablespoons of grated Parmesan or Pecorino
  • 100 grams of Neapolitan salami or cooked ham, cubed (optional)
  • 150 grams of mozzarella, cubed (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add a generous pinch of salt. Place the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a boil.

  2. While the water is heating, prepare the filling by cutting the Neapolitan salami and mozzarella cheese into small cubes. Set aside.

  3. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Be sure not to overcook the pasta.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and add the grated cheese, salt, and pepper. Whisk the mixture well until all ingredients are fully combined and the mixture is smooth.

  5. Add the cubed salami and mozzarella to the egg mixture, stirring well to incorporate evenly.

  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it thoroughly and add it to the egg mixture. Stir gently to ensure the pasta is evenly coated with the egg mixture.

  7. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the spaghetti and egg mixture, using a spatula to spread it evenly across the pan.

  8. Cook the omelette for 5 minutes or until a golden, crispy crust forms on the bottom. Gently shake the pan to ensure the omelette is not sticking to the bottom.

  9. Carefully place a plate (the same diameter as your pan) on top of the omelette. Hold the plate firmly in place and quickly flip the pan, inverting the omelette onto the plate.

  10. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Carefully slide the omelette back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the bottom forms a golden crust.

  11. Remove the omelette from the pan, and let it rest for a minute. Slice the spaghetti omelette into wedges and serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Notes

In the frittata di maccheroni, as with any omelette, feel free to get creative and customise the ingredients to your liking. You might choose cooked ham or Parma ham instead of salami, or swap out mozzarella for smoked provola, Emmental, or Gruyère. For an added touch of gourmet flair, consider incorporating mushrooms such as chanterelles or champignons, or even adding courgettes.

For a lighter alternative, bake the frittata at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 30-40 minutes.

Store your spaghetti omelette in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but avoid freezing for best results.

Recommended pasta shapes for this dish include spaghetti, linguine, tonnarelli, and vermicelli.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: pan fried
  • Cuisine: Italian
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