Garden Fritatta on a Crisp Noodle Pancake

Several friends will be joining us at noon next Sunday to enjoy a beautiful al fresco brunch amidst the leafing red and green Japanese maples, the showy pink apple blossoms and the snow white azaleas just now coming into full bloom in our gardens, the fountains bubbling and singing merrily in the warmth of the midday sun.  The buffet table will be laden with delicious garden fare and will be a bit different from Easter brunches we’ve enjoyed in past years, particularly since we’ve traditionally dined out and ordered a variety of those well-known and tried-and-true entrees one generally enjoys when “eating out” on a special occasion… Eggs Benedict, for instance.  I must admit that I no longer savor the numerous “restaurant style” interpretations of that long touted brunch dish as I once did, particularly since the Eggs Benedict we prepare here at home are exceptional… at least to our palates!  We’ve perfected a hollandaise sauce that simply cannot be beaten!  This year’s menu, however, will be atypical.  Since pasta is a staple on our dining table it had to be included… but befitting a brunch menu.  We tossed a few ideas around and did a test run this past week.  Without a doubt I must confess the dish was so delicious I can hardly wait until Sunday rolls around to enjoy it once again!  The star of Sunday’s brunch will be a magnificent fresh vegetable frittata served atop a crisp whole wheat noodle pancake.  The fritatta is topped with an enhanced pasta sauce, torn basil leaves and shredded Jarlsberg cheese, returned to the oven until the cheese is melted then placed on top of the noodle pancake and cut into wedges for service.  The flavors are wonderfully complementary and the crisp noodles add a palate-pleasing crunch to the fritatta, chock full of delicious al dente vegetables.  This beautiful dish will be complemented with a crisp fennel and pea salad, roasted globe artichokes, popovers fresh from the oven and, for dessert, a refreshingly light key lime semifreddo drizzled with fresh blackberry coulis.

Garden Fritatta on a Crisp Noodle Pancake

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Fill a pasta pot with water and place over high heat to bring to a boil.  While the water is heating prep the vegetables and set aside for quick addition to the fritatta:

  • small handful fresh snap peas, ends trimmed and string removed
  • 1 medium zucchini, crinkle cut into rounds
  • 2/3 C halved baby shitake mushrooms
  • 6 oz frozen spinach, thawed then squeezed in a cotton towel to remove the excess water
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, cut into thin lengthwise strips
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions, minced
  • 4 – 5 large basil leaves, torn

Beat together and set aside:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 C heavy cream

Set aside:

  • 1 C shredded Jarlsberg cheese

In a medium saucepan over moderately high heat add:

  • 1 turn extra virgin olive oil

When oil is shimmering add:

  • 4 whole cloves peeled garlic, finely minced

Saute until garlic just begins to turn golden:

Immediately add:

  • 1 3/4 C prepared pasta sauce of choice (we recommend Newman’s Own Sockarooni)

Stir to combine and heat until gently bubbling:

Cover and turn off heat.  When the pasta water is boiling and salted add:

  • 6-oz whole wheat spaghetti

Cook till al dente, drain, place into a bowl on the side, drizzle with:

  • extra virgin olive oil

Chef’s Note:  The olive oil prevents the cooked pasta from sticking together.

Toss to coat and set aside.  To a heavy 12-inch skillet heat over moderately high  heat add:

  • 3 -4 T extra virgin olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

  • the cooked pasta

Chef’s Note: Swirl the pasta and begin checking the bottom of the “pancake” for color after it has been cooking for 5 – 6 minutes.

To a medium-sized skillet over moderately high heat add:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

  • the minced leek

Saute for several minutes until the leeks begin to soften. Add:

  • the snap peas
  • the zucchini rounds
  • the julienne of red bell pepper

Saute for several minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add:

  • the halved shitake mushrooms

Saute for an additional minute. Add:

  • the reserved spinach

Stir to combine and season with:

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Add

  • the beaten eggs and cream

As the egg begins to cook, quickly loosen it from the edge of the pan with a spatula and place in the preheated oven.  Cook for 6 minutes.  Meanwhile, turn the pasta pancake over to begin browning the top side.

Chef’s Note:  Place a large plate or baking sheet over the pan and quickly flip it over.  Slide the turned pasta pancake back into the hot skillet.

At the 6 minute marker remove the fritatta from the oven.  Cover with:

  • the heated pasta sauce

  • the torn basil leaves

  • the shredded Jarlsberg cheese

Return to the oven for an additional 5 – 6 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.  When the frittata is ready transfer the noodle pancake to a cutting board:

Loosen the edges of the fritatta and slide it from the skillet onto the crispy pancake:

Carefully cut into wedges with a sharp chef’s knife.  This recipe serves 4 generously.  Transfer to a warmed platter for immediate service… Bon Appetit!

Copyright 2010 Via Aurea Designs, Inc., All Rights Reserved

 

 

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Categories: Egg Dishes, Pasta

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!

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One Comment on “Garden Fritatta on a Crisp Noodle Pancake”

  1. Beth
    March 28, 2010 at 5:03 PM #

    Steve & Dayton,

    If only we could dine with you on Easter! The menu sounds fantastic (and I already know how wonderful the popovers are!). The dessert sounds like one Jeff would enjoy. He’s a fan of key lime and you already know how he loves the berry part! Have a wonderful Easter!

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