Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a starter

Born to make wise use of leftover pasta, frittata di spaghetti is an underrated, versatile, and fun recipe to add to your repertoire. You can serve it as part of a buffet; cut into generous slices, or cube it for an unusual starter. It makes a great packed lunch for day trips, picnics, and beach outings too. 

The frittata is usually made with spaghetti, vermicelli, or bucatini, but short pasta such as penne or rigatoni will also work. Eggs are the ingredient that binds everything together: as a general rule, allow one egg per person, and maybe one more for the pan. As the recipe was created to use leftovers, consider it a blank canvas and use it to upcycle any leftover cheese that has been sitting at the back of your fridge for too long: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino or cubed or sliced mozzarella, scamorza, or provola. You can also add salami, pancetta, or mortadella; see the Note. 

If you don’t have homemade sauce on hand, use 1 cup/260 g store-bought marinara sauce.

WNK- Cucina Povera Bookcover Cucina Povera Giulia Scarpaleggia



  • 8 ounces/225 g spaghetti

  • 1 cup/260 g Garlicky Tomato Sauce, reheated (see headnote)

  • 4 large/200 g eggs

  • Fine sea salt

  • 10½ ounces/300 g whole-milk mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces

  • ¾ cup/75 g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated on the small holes of a box grater

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomato sauce and toss to coat. Let cool completely. 

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

When the spaghetti has cooled, add the beaten eggs, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until thoroughly combined. 

Heat an 8-inch/20 cm nonstick frying pan over medium heat until hot, then add a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden; remove and discard the garlic. 

Add the spaghetti to the pan, pressing it into an even layer with a spatula. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until a golden crust has developed on the bottom. Invert a large plate over the pan and, in one quick motion, flip the frittata onto the plate. Return the pan to the stove and add a drizzle of olive oil, then slide the frittata back into the pan and cook on the second side until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Serve hot. 

Note: If you want to add salami or another meat or cheese, dice it or cut into thin strips and add to the dressed spaghetti along with the beaten eggs, then proceed as instructed in the recipe.

Excerpted from Cucina Povera by Giulia Scarpaleggia (Artisan Books). Copyright @ 2023. 

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