Category Archives for "Italian Food"

Bite-Size Spaghetti Fritattas

Don’t you just love when a familiar food is presented in a unique way? I do. I’ve been making these crowd-pleasing bite-size frittatas for parties for many years — in fact, I started making these when I was catering parties in NY under “The Pleasure of Your Company”.

Followers of FOODalogue know that I generally don’t follow recipes, even my own. However, there are a few that I’ve relied on and have carried with me every time I moved. Drunken Turkey is one. This is another.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from “The Joy of Pasta” by Joe Famularo + Louise Imperiale, copyright 1983. As you can see, it was presented as a skillet fritatta to serve 4-6 people. I use a similar flavor profile but switched up the execution.  In fact, you can see my post-it notes increasing eggs from 4 to 12 and then back again to 10 and subsequently 8. 

My adaptation produces about 8-dozen frittatas if baked in mini muffin tins. The end result is the circumference of a thumb-forefinger circle, a perfect bite-size appetizer which I serve with 2 sauces: green + red (pesto and marinara or vodka sauce which I used in this preparation). 


3 cloves garlic minced
1/3c crumbled bacon
1/2c peas
1 1/2 lbs. mozzarella shredded
8 eggs beaten
1/2c Parmigiano Reggiano (or Locatelli, whatever you use)
1/2c provolone (first time I added this cheese)
1 lb. thin spaghetti

Saute garlic, bacon, and peas. Reserve to side.
Crack spaghetti in thirds, boil to al dente and drain.
Mix beat eggs with cheeses, s+p, and fold in garlic/bacon/pea mixture.
Add drained spaghetti and mix.
Fill greased mini muffin tins.
Bake in 350-375 oven.

Cooking Notes

  1. Be careful with the number of eggs or it could be too omelet-y. That’s why I’ve reduced # of eggs over the years. You can always add more to the mixture.
  2. You can substitute bacon for ham or any other pork product (about 1/4 lb.).
  3. You can make these in advance and either refrigerate or freeze them in a baggie.
  4. Bring to room temperature and then reheat in the oven before saucing.
  5. It’s a good buffet item because they can be served at room temperature.
  6. If you use a larger muffin mold, it makes a lovely first dish or lunch with a salad.

Let me know if you use the recipe and how you like it.

Clams, Fava Beans + Yellow Tomatoes with Spinach Fettuccine Nests

This is what happens when you shop ‘fresh’ for dinner. No plan. No list. Just totally market-driven.

Yellow grape tomatoes were the first thing that caught my eye. Then I saw the fava beans. I’ve only worked with favas a few times but they’re easy enough and really tasty so into the basket they went. I walked over to the fish counter, looked at the usual suspects (salmon, snapper, tuna) and then spotted the littleneck clams. The rest just sort of fell into place. A few more pick-ups, like spinach fettuccine nests,  and some pantry staples. Voila!

A Digital Mise en Place

Serves: 2-4


  • 2 dozen littleneck clams washed
  • 1-pint yellow grape tomatoes halved
  • 6 fava beans (shelled)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 large leek sliced thinly
  • 1/2 fennel sliced thinly
  • 1-1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 spinach fettuccine nests
  • salt, red chili pepper, fresh basil to taste


  1. Shell fava beans and boil for 6 minutes in salted water.
  2. Remove beans with a slotted spoon and set aside; reserve water to cook pasta for extra flavor.
  3. Saute leek, garlic, and fennel in olive oil on medium heat (don’t brown).
  4. Add dry seasonings.
  5. Add wine and some lemon juice, bring to a boil.
  6. Add clams, cover and lower heat till clams open.
  7. Adjust seasoning and add a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.
  8. Cook pasta at a low boil (helps preserve nest shape).
  9. Remove nests and place in dish.
  10. Spoon clams, fava beans, and sauce over it.

Blogging Note

Automatic spellcheck challenged my typing of fettucine so I checked google and other sources and learned it’s spelled with either a single or double ‘c’. However you spell it, it sure tastes good!

Fried Leek+ Zucchini Matchsticks Pasta

Mamma mia…fried leeks con la pasta é molto bene. Who knew?

I thought I’d cooked pasta with every vegetable grown on the planet, but I must admit to having never cooked pasta with leeks; in fact, I don’t use leeks all that much. But the stars were aligned. I bought a bunch of leek for another recipe, I had a zucchini in the vegetable drawer and a brand new pasta from Italy that I was anxious to try. Not to mention, an always present yen for a pasta dinner.

A word about pasta. I haven’t attempted to make my own. I somehow just can’t see myself throwing flour all over the counter, making a well for eggs, somehow mixing it all up, passing it through some cockamamie machine, and hanging it out to dry…etc. I’m not ashamed to admit that I usually get mine in a box or a bag…and it’s usually Barilla or some other Italian brand that is available in my local supermarket.

Occasionally, when I have the opportunity and am at a specialty Italian market, I splurge and pick up a new shape just imported from Italy, like this “I Fusilli Napolitano” ($5.99).

To mimic the shape and length of the pasta, I cut the zucchini and leek into matchsticks. That’s when the light-bulb went off and I decided to fry them.

I tossed them in heavily seasoned flour and then fried them in vegetable oil.

The pasta sauce was already made. What pasta lover doesn’t have little containers of pre-made sauce in the freezer?

Finishing Touch: A couple of pieces of proscuitto roughly torn, freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and ground black pepper.

Va tutto bene!

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They’re meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It’s all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards…eating!