Someone could make a jingle out of that title. Ricotta frittata is a springtime refrain for casual living. It reminds me of that Swahili phrase “hakuna matata” (no worries), made famous by two meerkats in The Lion King. That certainly is the case with frittatas made from locally grown seasonal produce and really fine eggs from a local farm. I could have gone so far as to make the ricotta from local organically produced milk, but I didn’t. I was actually trying to use up the big tub I bought for our Easter pancake breakfast.
A frittata, if you’re not familiar with it, is an open-faced omelet favored in Italian cuisine, cooked very slowly on top of the stove and sometimes finished under a broiler if you have one (I don’t). You basically cook some compatible vegetables and cool them, and combine them with grated cheese and/or herbs if you want, and some lightly beaten eggs. You heat a heavy pan on the stove over pretty high heat, add butter to coat the bottom and sides, and pour in the egg-vegetable mixture. You then turn the heat to a very low setting and let the frittata cook slowly for about 20 minutes. Pass it under a broiler to brown the top if you want, and serve hot, warm, or cold.
No worries. The perfect antidote for that blank stare at the open refrigerator after a blasting day at work when you need to get dinner on the table in half an hour and don’t have a clue what to cook. Hakuna matata.
The inspiration for this frittata started with spring onions, gorgeous violet, white and green bulbs that I found at the farmers’ market. I split the bulbs completely along their length, sprinkled them with olive oil and salt and roasted them in a 400-degree oven, cut side down and then flipped them, roasting for a total of about 5-7 minutes. They were the vegetable foundation of the dish, along with local, freshly picked asparagus.
So where does the ricotta fit in? Dollops of ricotta combined with herbs (I used chives to complement the spring onions) are placed carefully on top of the egg mixture after it’s been poured into the pan and before it’s cooked. The ricotta sets up beautifully along with the rest of the frittata, and it provides another layer of flavor and texture to the dish. This was an experiment on my part and I was pleased that it worked. Especially since we were really hungry.
1½ – 2 c cooked vegetables, lightly salted (I used sliced grilled spring onion and asparagus)
Optional: 1/4 c grated Parmesan of other hard cheese
1/3 c ricotta cheese
Snipped herbs (I used chives)
1 tbsp butter
Assemble the ingredients. Cook and cool the vegetables. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and add the vegetables and grated cheese, if using. Combine the herbs and ricotta.
Heat a heavy pan (I use a 9-inch enameled cast iron pan) over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the butter and tip the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Add the egg and vegetable mixture and turn down the heat to very low. Place four spoonfuls of ricotta on top of the eggs. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is no longer runny. Pass under a broiler for a few minutes to brown, if desired. Serves 3-4.