Okay I know it sounds crazy…but it’s delicious.
Let me give you some background. Earlier this month, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a post promoting Colavita Olive Oil. (If you haven’t heard of them, they have a delicious olive oil product as well as pastas, canned tomatoes and vinegars. Think Italian. Oh, they also have an organic line, so I love that even more.)
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My Colavita Meal Challenge
They created a challenge to inspire users to create a recipe using only six ingredients and enter it into a contest. Yes you heard me correctly, SIX ingredients. Not only that, but three of them are chosen for you – Colavita pasta, Colavita olive oil, and Colavita canned tomatoes. So truly, this leaves you with three ingredients to play around with. Let me tell you, it is not easy!Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet With Assist Handle, 10.25″, Black
The Trial and Error Method
Bakers like to Bake
Being the baker that I am, immediately my thoughts went to “Can I make bread?” That’s only three ingredients – flour, water (which doesn’t count), salt (which also doesn’t count), and starter (which is essentially flour and water and hence forth already being used in the recipe). BUT I couldn’t really find a nice way for the bread to be incorporated with the pasta in a cohesive dish with only two more ingredients. On top of which, their main component for judging is simplicity. I think that I overcomplicated things. So I started over.All-Clad E414S6 Stainless Steel Pasta Pot and Insert Cookware, 6-Quart, Silver –
I then went the route of a Bolognese. When you make a Bolognese, it’s more of a meat sauce than a tomato sauce and I just wanted to throw so many things in there – carrots, celery, wine, herbs, mushrooms…I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Besides this, the other quality they judged recipes on was creativity and pasta with meat sauce is not the most creative thing I’ve come up with. Scratch that idea.
Then, I had a light bulb moment. Somewhere in the 31 years I’ve been on this earth, I had a baked pasta frittata that stuck out in my memory. It wasn’t a baked dish like lasagna or baked ziti where it’s held together by ricotta cheese, meats and melty mozzarella cheese. Instead, it was an egg dish made mostly of pasta and egg. Essentially it was a frittata with cooked pasta and cheese. Now, if you were to ask me where and when I had this I honestly couldn’t tell you. It could have been a church potluck or Christmas party or something like that. It’s funny how you can remember the food – the taste, texture and substance – while the other memories have faded away. That’s an interesting topic I should cover on another day…
Here’s the ingredients…
So I started brainstorming and playing around with what could work for the challenge. Olive oil – check. Pasta? Something fun and curly like fusilli. Tomatoes? Diced for sure, so that you can see the individual pieces. Then beaten eggs with a bit of water, salt and a hefty dose of freshly cracked black pepper (which also doesn’t count, so I thought I should really let it shine through as a star).Cuisinart Curve Handle Nylon, Pasta Server,Black,1 EA
That leaves two more ingredients. Cheese! Gotta love cheese in a baked pasta dish. But which one…? Mozzarella is basic, parmesan is typical – what about Piave? I first heard about Piave Cheese from the chef I worked with at my last restaurant. It was his favorite cheese, so we had it on the menu in our Onion Tart, which was one of our most popular dishes. It’s a hard cheese made with cow’s milk that’s not majorly salty but melts nicely. Perfect.
One more ingredient. I wanted to have a protein in there for texture and flavor. The eggs give an almost breakfast feel to the dish so what about a breakfast meat? Sausage, bacon… Colavita is Italian, maybe I should head in the Italian direction. Prosciutto…pancetta! Voila, that’s it! We have a winner…at least I hope!
Pasta Frittata for BrunchSHARDOR Coffee & Spice Grinders Electric, 2 Removable Stainless Steel Bowls for Dry or Wet Grinding, Black
This pasta frittata is hearty and filling so it’s perfect for the cold, rainy days we’ve been having. I think it would do well for brunch as you can slice it up into wedges and it looks beautiful with the curly pasta showing through. Need another fall brunch item? Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread would be perfect for dessert.
This pasta dish is nice because you use the fat from the pancetta to flavor the rest of the frittata. The tomatoes are a great contrast to the cheese and the eggs spiced with black pepper and laced with curly pasta really make a delicious savory bake. I baked mine in a cast iron skillet topped with more grated Piave cheese and it slipped right out of the pan at the end. Easy, quick clean up and super delicious.