This Big Little Recipe takes the same ingredient list as classic spaghetti carbonara, but reworks the quantities and technique so you end up with—ta da!—a frittata. While the Roman original must be eaten as soon as it’s ready (the sauce goes from silky to gloopy as it sits), this frittata is infinitely more flexible. Have it hot, warm, at room temperature, or straight from the fridge the next day (if a leftover pasta frittata sandwich with chile mayo is wrong, I don’t want to be right). And because it’s hands-off as soon as it goes in the oven, it’s a great dish to make if you’re having company. I snagged this smart cooking method from chef Andrew Feinberg, who taught me that a low-and-slow heat yields the tenderest, creamiest frittata in all the land. Once you start making it this way, you’ll never go back to that stovetop-broiler combo. A note about substitutions: Feel free to swap out the pancetta for bacon or guanciale. Same goes for pecorino, which can be replaced with parmesan. —Emma Laperruque
kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
diced pancetta (about ¾ cup)
pecorino, finely grated, preferably with a Microplane (the volume varies so widely with finely grated cheese, but figure about 1 cup)
freshly ground black pepper, plus more to sprinkle on top
In This Recipe
Heat the oven to 300°F.
Fill a medium pot with water and set on the stove over high heat to come to a boil. When it does, add a generous amount of salt (I estimate about 1 tablespoon salt per quart of water), then the spaghetti. Cook until just al dente (about 8 minutes) since it’ll continue to cook in the frittata.
While the water is coming to a boil, cook the pancetta in a 10-inch, oven-safe, nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Cut the heat and let the pancetta hang out where it is to cool a bit.
Combine the eggs, pecorino, black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the cooled pancetta, plus any rendered fat, and whisk to combine. No need to wash the pan—we’re using it again in a second.
When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander, then add it to the skillet along with the butter. Toss until the butter is melted and the pasta is coated. Shake the pan a bit to make sure the pasta is spread out in an even layer. Now pour the egg mixture on top, taking care to make sure the pancetta is as evenly distributed as possible. Sprinkle more black pepper on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the frittata is just set (bouncy to the touch, no longer jiggly in the center)—rotating halfway through and checking frequently toward the end to avoid overcooking.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and turned into very good sandwiches with chile mayo.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.