Two weeks has gone by since my last post, and there’s been a lot going on around here in the meantime- lots of planning and decision making about next year. I will have to talk about that later, but it’s all been good and exciting.
Spring has also arrived in Berlin. Along with the switch to “Sommerzeit” last weekend (it now doesn’t get dark until eight and I’m loving that) there has been a dramatic increase in temperature and a proportional increase in Martini, wine and Bitterol drinking. The spring vegetables are not quite here yet, but they will be soon. The first nice-looking artichokes are appearing, along with asparagus and green garlic- my new obsession. More on these later as well.
For now I have a recipe for this in-between time, just before the spring produce really comes. It’s a frittata and it’s my new standby for weekend breakfasts. It combines pasta, a bitter green, cheese and sausage, and it is delicious hot or cold. It has no root vegetables. I love my root vegetables and have especially grown to love kohlrabi over here, but after five months of them I am ready to say goodbye until October. Version one appeared above, here is version two:
This is an ideal dish to make with leftovers, but I buy and cook pasta fresh just to make it because I like it that much. As you can see from the two pics above, I experimented a bit with shapes. I find that if you are using the sausage, a longer pasta like spaghetti or fettucini adds a nice contrast to the clumps of meat. If you want to make this vegetarian (and it’s good that way too), a more textured shape like cork-screws or penne make for a nice consistency. As for cheese- I used a crumbly, sour white cheese similar to fetta, but something like Parmesan would be more traditional. Make sure to add plenty of black pepper- it makes the dish.
Frittata with broccoli rabe, sausage and pasta
Ingredients (for 2-3 people)
1/2 lb of italian-style sausage
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/2 lb of broccoli rabe
2 cups cooked pasta (if using a long pasta, chop the strands in half a couple of times)
1.5 cups of coarsely grated parmesan or firm sour white cheese like ricotta salata
Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
First prepare the broccoli rabe: Wash but do not pat dry. Remove the lower parts of the stems that are fibrous and coarsely chop the leaves and tender parts of the stem. Set these aside.
Put a splash of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other shallow ovenproof pan. Chop up the sausage and cook over medium heat until just brown. Then add the onions and fry until translucent. If the sausage produces a lot of grease, you can drain some of it off at this point.
Next add the chopped broccoli rabe to the skillet, turn the heat down to low and cover the pan, letting the broccoli rabe cook down for around 10 minutes.
In the meantime, beat together the eggs and add the pasta and 1 cup of the grated cheese to the egg, stirring well to make an even mixture. Add salt and plenty of pepper and stir again.
After 10 minutes, uncover the skillet. The greens should be cooked down quite a bit. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the pan, moving around the pasta if necessary so that it doesn’t all cluster together in one area.
With the heat over medium low, cook the mixture on the stove top until the bottom is firm. I like to use a spatula for this part, lifting up the sides and tilting the pan so that the mixture is evenly distributed and cooks more quickly.
When the bottom is firm and the sides are just beginning to firm as well (after about 5 to 7 mintues) transfer the whole thing to the oven and bake until no liquid remains on top (about 10 minutes). Finally, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the frittata and cook for another minute so that the cheese just melts.
To serve: some people like flipping the frittata out of the pan on its back, but I just like to slide it out because the bottom doesn’t look as nice as the top in my opinion.