Saturday, September 01, 2012

Leftover Pizza Frittata {a.k.a best breakfast ever}

When I was a kid, on the weekends, my dad would often cook breakfast. He was the kind of guy who didn't like wasting food. He ate leftovers whenever they were around. Known for putting anything between two slices of bread, my mom tells stories of his late night spaghetti sandwiches. I think that sounds gross.

But he had one genius idea: the pizza omelet. It was my favorite weekend breakfast that we'd have growing up. Whenever we had pizza for dinner on Friday or Saturday night, you could be sure we had pizza omelet for breakfast the next day. 

Well, I have been making versions of his pizza omelet ever since I began cooking for my own family. My Leftover Pizza Frittata is a more sophisticated concoction, and possibly healthier. However, it's not even an exact recipe. What I've perfected, actually, is the formula. It's efficient, like my dad's version, as it uses up what's in the fridge. It's fool proof, delish, and super kid friendly. My kids love it and gobble up second helpings.

So here goes.

1. You need pizza. Either one giant slice, or a few small ones. So that there is not too much bread, turn each slice on its edge and with a sharp knife, trim off half the thickness, discarding the bottom tough half of the crust. Dice the top layer into small cubes.

2. You need veggies. 

- about 1/2 C of onion or shallot, diced

optional (what's in the fridge?):
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- a couple asparagus
- handful of spinach leaves

3. You need herbs/greens (pick one)
- chopped handful parsley
- chopped handful basil
- chopped fresh thyme or oregano, like 3 sprigs maybe

4. You need cheese. The higher quality, the better.
best: sharp white cheddar, or real Parmigiana Reggiano, about 1 C grated
okay: shredded cheddar

5. You need 4-6 eggs and a heavy splash of something milky (milk, cream, 1/2 and 1/2....)

6. You need a pan that can go in the oven. If you don't have one, you have to make an omelet, NOT a frittata. I use a large cast iron skillet. I used to be afraid of cast iron. Now I can't not have it for certain things.

Let's recap, because it's not that hard. You have everything (except pizza) in your fridge probably all the time, right?

Veggies (including onion)

So the rest is pretty simple. Turn your broiler on so it's nice and hot when you're ready to move the skillet in. (Also, check the timer for the number of minutes left on your child's deadline for picking up their stuff on the floor. Wait, am I the only one who does that?)


1. In a bowl, whisk your eggs, the big splash of milk product, and the grated cheese.

1. In about 1 T of olive oil or butter, cook down the onion for a few minutes. Add veggies until it's all heated and getting softish. 

2. Add herbs and pizza. Watch it closely because you only want to heat the pizza through. If you cook it too long, the cheese on the pizza starts to melt and get all stringy and crazy. Just cook it till the cubes look, well, softish. You should also salt and pepper this badboy at some point. Like maybe now.

3. Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture into the pan. Using a spatula, gently schooch the mixture around, scraping back and forth on the bottom here and there so everything is neatly nestled in the egg mix. Turn the heat down to medium and let it cook a little. 

This is where it takes practice if you have not made frittatas before. If you let it sit too long, the bottom will overcook. If you move it to the oven too quick, the top cooks faster than the liquidy middle. You need some practice to know when it's nearly done and ready to move to the oven for the top to be finished off. This is why it's best to be patient before you move it, keep the heat down, and wait a few minutes to see how it's looking. 

(As a side note, don't decide not to try this recipe because learning to cook a frittata sounds daunting. If you master cooking a dish this way, you can use it as a go-to hearty, healthy, and super economical meal for dinner in a pinch anytime. You can put nearly anything in it, as long as you have eggs, a good cheese, and some veggies and/or meat. I use it all the time when I need to use up what's in the fridge. So I'm saying it's a useful cooking technique to acquire long term, not just for this recipe.) 

I'd best describe the right moment when the frittata is looking cooked around the edges and mostly "set" on top. When I move it to the oven, I see most of the surface is still liquid. However, the liquid layer looks thin, and the egg is mostly set underneath.

While it's broiling, watch it like a HAWK I tell you. I checked mine three times before it was done. The two signature things that mark it being done is, one, that it puffs up quite a bit looking totally dry on top, and two, that the top is golden and browned.

Serious. It's so good. You're going to want to order pizza as often as possible now just because of this.

Slice this beautiful thing up into wedges, and if you're extra fancy, garnish them with a sprinkle of the herbs you used before. With toast and fruit, it makes a beautiful breakfast. With roasted potatoes and/or salad, it makes a yummy dinner too.

Okay pals, we're heading to the pool. But if you try it, let me know how it goes!

Happy Labor Day weekend!!



  1. i make fritattas regularly. most recently we have been making them with sweet potatoes layered on the bottom and sauteed veggies. so yummy. so easy.

    have you ever made breakfast pizza? do it. your husband and son will love you more. i guarantee it.

  2. My mouth is now watering! I can't wait to try this!