spaghetti and peperonata frittata with harissa cream

belinda jeffery's recipes

My recipes are easy. They’re for the food I like to eat. Simple, fresh, full of flavour and just a bit different. You certainly don't need any great cooking skills for them, you just need to like food and like eating – just like me. The rest is simple.

spaghetti and peperonata frittata with harissa cream

This recipe originally came about when I had a little leftover pasta in peperonata sauce and was wondering how to stretch it to make another meal. I remembered that in the Italian restaurant where I used to work, we would often use up leftover pasta in a frittata for the staff lunch, so I set about doing just that, and this is the rather lovely result.

1/2 cup sour cream, softly whipped
1 tablespoon harissa, or more to taste

Peperonata
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 large red peppers (capsicum), finely sliced
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
About a tablespoon of shredded basil

120g spaghetti or spaghettini
Salt, for cooking

10 good-quality eggs
20g freshly grated parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Small handful of finely sliced basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
120g goat’s cheese marinated in olive oil
Small basil leaves, to garnish

Make the harissa cream by scooping the sour cream into a serving bowl and swirling in the harissa so there are streaks of harissa and streaks of cream. Cover the bowl and pop it into the fridge.

For the peperonata, heat the oil in a large, non-stick ovenproof frying pan (mine is 30cm across the top tapering to 25cm diameter base) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes until it has softened and become slightly translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and chilli and cook them, stirring, for a couple more minutes. Now increase the heat and tip in the sliced peppers and cook them, tossing them about constantly, for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes, sun-dried tomato pesto, sugar and half the vinegar and thoroughly mix it all together. Now reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the peppers are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Uncover the pan, increase the heat and cook the peperonata until most of the liquid has evaporated (you should be able to run your spoon through the mixture and it will leave a trail.) When it's ready, taste the peperonata and add a splash more vinegar if it needs it, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the basil.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti (or spaghettini) in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling, salted water. As soon as it’s al dente (I usually fish out a piece and take a bite to check), drain it and tip it into a bowl. Toss it with a tiny dribble of olive oil to stop the strands sticking together. When the peperonata is ready, add it to the spaghetti and toss the two together.

Thoroughly wipe out the frying pan and return it to the cook top.

With a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs, parmesan, seasoning and basil together until they’re just combined. Pour this into the spaghettini mixture and mix them well together. (This can be a bit awkward to do as it’s quite gloopy – I find using tongs helps).

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium to low heat. Pour in the frittata mixture and cook it, stirring regularly as the egg starts to set on the bottom. Lift up the edges as you go to allow uncooked egg to run underneath - keep doing this every so often until the egg on top is no longer runny but looks creamy and moist. You’ll find that you will have to adjust the heat as it cooks, and give the pan a turn every so often to avoid any hot spots developing on the bottom which can cause the frittata to burn. All up the cooking takes about 10 minutes.

While the frittata is cooking, preheat your griller to high. If you don’t have an overhead griller, preheat your oven to 180C.

As soon as the frittata is ready, crumble the goat’s cheese evenly over the top, then slide the pan under the griller. Cook the frittata for about 4 minutes or until the eggy part of the top feels dry. (If you don’t have a griller, slip the pan into the oven for a few minutes until the top is just set.)

Gently run a palette knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the frittata (hopefully it shouldn’t have stuck!) then slide it onto a large serving platter. Grind a bit more pepper over the top and sprinkle it with basil leaves. Serve warm or room temperature with the harissa cream. (If by any chance your frittata has stuck, don’t worry, just sprinkle it with the basil leaves and serve it straight from the pan…it still looks gorgeous.)

Serves 6-8.

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