In Southern Italy, breaking the Lenten fast with a basket cheese frittata is a time-honored tradition. This one here is an heirloom recipe my mother brought to the United States over 40 years ago.
Basket cheese is not very well known here in the States, but in Italy, it is revered. Still warm, whole milk curds are salted and hand-pressed into basket molds where they are left to drain. The cheese, a type of ricotta, can be recognized by the imprint left by the weaves of the basket it hardens in. While it’s great on its own or on rustic bread, basket cheese is usually reserved for (and savored in!) this dish. Grocery stores stock it in the weeks leading up to Easter, but then it quickly disappears and is hard to find until the following Lent. It’s why this frittata is so special—we really only get to eat it once a year.
Full of basket cheese, melty mozzarella, and creamy ricotta, and diced soppressata, this frittata is deliciously rich, salty, and eggy all at once. It’s not Easter without a few wedges of this frittata and my mother’s fresh-baked Easter bread.
—Anna Francese Gass
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Cook time 28 minutes
- Serves 6
extra-virgin olive oil
Italian soppressata, cut to 1/2-inch dice
fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch thick discs
whole-milk ricotta cheese
basket cheese (My mother uses Liuzzi brand), sliced thinly
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add soppressata, and cook until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add soppressata, and cook until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Lay the mozzarella discs on top of the soppressata, then dollop with the ricotta. Lay the basket cheese slices on top of the ricotta, filling in any gaps so there is a full layer of cheese on top of the soppressata.
- Carefully pour the beaten eggs over the cheese, and season with salt. Shimmy the pan as the egg begins to set, and, using a rubber spatula, lift the frittata’s edges and tilt the pan to allow the raw egg to seep down the sides, towards the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then place in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is just set. Remove from the oven and cut into slices to serve.