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Cast Iron Cooking: Spaghetti Frittata

When dealing  with leftovers, I find myself trapped between two desires.  I never want to waste food on which I've spent our hard-earned cash. But I want our food to be varied and interesting.

Awhile back we had spaghetti in the fridge that needed to be eaten. I didn’t want it to go to waste, but I wasn't thrilled about serving it again.  This frittata was the perfect solution.  It turned my leftover spaghetti into something that seemed new.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 40 minutes

4 tablespoons butter
1 medium white or yellow onion, sliced into long slivers
2-3 cups of leftover spaghetti with meat sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon fresh basil
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice onion and peel garlic. Put butter and slivered onions into a large skillet on medium high heat. A cast iron skillet is best, because then you’ll be able to bake it right in the skillet. Cook, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes, until onions are soft and are getting some nice browned bits. If onions start to blacken before they are soft, turn the heat down a little.

While the onions are cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, minced garlic, salt and fresh basil (or substitute 2 teaspoons dried basil.) Zap leftover spaghetti in the microwave until hot. This step is not essential but it will cut 5 or 10 minutes off the baking time. You can use any leftover spaghetti.   Mine had ground beef and traditional tomato sauce.

When the onions have some nice browned bits, remove skillet from heat.  At this point, you can transfer the onions to an oven safe 8 inch casserole dish (round if you want pie-shaped servings). Or if you are using a cast iron skillet, just leave the onions right there in the skillet.

Spread the onions out evenly.  Add the warmed spaghetti right on top of the onion mixture, again spreading it out evenly. Pour egg mixture evenly over all. Sprinkle cheese on top. Last of all, add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until egg in the center is set and cheese is nicely browned.

Garnish with additional fresh basil, if desired.