The more I learn about southern Italian cuisine the bigger the differences I see between that and northern cuisine. And, to be honest, nothing surprises me. I was recently taught this recipe by a good friend of mine from Naples and it’s already become one of my go-to favourites. As the name suggests―maccheroni in Italian is used to refer to pasta in general rather than a specific kind―this can me made with any type of pasta. In fact, it’s often used as a way of using up leftovers. I already knew that you could make delicious arancini with leftover risotto to avoid re-heating (and therefore overcooking and ruining) the rice. But this recipe is the same with pasta. Alternatively, as with this recipe, you can cook the pasta specially and just enjoy eating the dish for its own sake.
The method itself is very simple. Take your leftover, or pre-cooked pasta, and coat it in a mixture of eggs and cheese. Add any other ingredients to the mix and then fry for 15 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your pan, it can be quite an effort to turn it over—and messy, because there will still be some residual oil in the pan. My friend told me that if you have a small pan you could make little individual ones which is also an attractive way to serve it. Make sure you use plenty of oil since you want the pasta to go nice and crispy. He often burns his a little since that way people won’t mind him eating the crispy bit all to himself!
The frittata di maccheroni is delicious hot but can also be served cold. My friend told me that in the summer people often cook it and then take cold slices to eat for lunch at the beach. If only I’d known about it before the autumn started! You can also cut it into cubes, pierce with cocktail sticks, and serve it as finger food for an aperitivo or party. The possibilities are endless.
If you don’t like the idea of frying then you can make it in the oven. It’s delicious if you layer the pasta and then alternate with provolone cheese and salami (or fillings of your choice). 180°C (355°F) for half an hour should do the trick. You might want to place it under a hot grill for a couple of minutes to brown the top even more.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this campanian classic. Something tells me that there will be a lot more southern Italian food gracing this blog very soon.