I am a staunch believer in following a recipe. Show me someone that can follow a recipe (provided the recipe is well-written, which many are not), and I will show you someone who can cook. I know, I know. Lots of people cook intuitively, feeling their way around ingredients and methods and quantities, and to them I raise my glass and offer a hearty, “Way to go, you!”
Making it up as I go is not how I roll. In fact, after twenty years of cooking, I would say I have developed some intuitive cooking skills (I know what a teaspoon of salt looks like, for example), but I still will follow a recipe exactly as written before I begin to alter it and make it my own.
Which is why today’s post kind of makes me itchy and uncomfortable.
I am sharing with you my favorite recipe for Frittata, that glorious and wonderful baked egg dish that works equally well for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. However, inside the framework of this recipe there are options galore and multiple ways you can choose your own adventure. My sincerest apologies if you, like me, prefer to be told exactly what to do inside a recipe, but I promise as far as freedom goes, the frittata parameters are quite clear and if you follow them, your frittata will turn out beautifully.
That’s the thing about frittata. It welcomes extemporaneous expression like a champ. The base of eggs and cream will always support whatever variety of vegetables and cheese you choose to add as long as you follow the quantity guidelines. See? We can do this. We can be cool and casual and fly by the seat of our pants because this recipe will keep our creative expression from going overboard and along the way we will become flexible and avant garde, at least when it comes to Frittata.
If you’d like a little hand-holding when it comes to learning to make Frittata, my learn-at-home video is ready and waiting for you in my shop. In it, I will show you how to create two completely different versions from the same recipe, showcasing how truly versatile this recipe can be.
You will need 4 total cups of any combination of vegetables, including any of the following:
- zucchini, thinly sliced
- leeks, thinly sliced
- onions, any kind, chopped or thinly sliced
- peppers, any color, cut into large chunks
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- mushrooms, sliced
- fresh spinach
- 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, chopped into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as thyme or basil, chives or parsley
- 10 eggs
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 2 cups grated cheese of your choosing, including any of the following: cheddar, Monterey Jack, gruyere, mozzarella, ricotta, or Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning the vegetables
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning the vegetables
If you are using pancetta…
- Pancetta is best browned over medium heat in a bit of olive oil. Bacon does not require olive oil for browning
If you are using fresh spinach…
- Because fresh spinach will wilt down to almost nothing, do not count it as part of the four cups of vegetables. Just add a couple of handfuls in addition to the whatever other vegetables you decide to use.
To make the Frittata…
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Begin by cooking the bacon or pancetta. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the bacon or pancetta until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon or pancetta from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Next, cook the vegetables.Add all the vegetables (except spinach, mushrooms, or tomatoes) to the pan and season with about a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-high until water that the vegetables initially give off has evaporated and the vegetables are beginning to turn a nice golden color.
- While the vegetables cook, mix together the eggs, half and half, kosher salt, black pepper, and cheese until well-combined.
- When the vegetables are completely cooked, if you are using spinach or mushrooms, add them and allow them to release their water and shrink down. This will happen rather quickly for spinach, but will take much longer for mushrooms.
- Add the fresh herbs to the cooked vegetables. The herbs do not need to cook.
- Once all of the vegetables are completely finished cooking, add the cooked bacon or pancetta back to the pan. Stir to combine. Add the egg mixture, and smooth it over the cooked vegetables until evenly distributed. If you are using cherry tomatoes or ricotta, add each of these ingredients to the top of the frittata before baking.
- Finally, bake the frittata in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until set in the middle. Allow the frittata to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve into wedges and enjoy!