Leftover Pasta Frittata


This leftover pasta frittata is the most delicious way to use up cooked pasta. Simple and quick to make, enjoyed hot or cold. 



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I am not sure if it’s just me, but does anyone else cook pasta as though the whole world is coming for dinner? It doesn’t matter whether it is spaghetti or penne, I always completely misjudge how much I need to cook. Even though I’ve cooked pasta for decades, it is still so hard to determine how much dry pasta is going to be enough. And that’s the problem. If you’ve ever made not enough pasta, you will know the disappointment. I think that’s why I go overboard. Much better to have leftovers, than too little.

What about the leftovers, then? What do you do with yours? Do you stick it in a container, shove it in the fridge, absolutely convinced you will use it, only to throw it away dejectedly three weeks later? I am kidding, of course. Well, about the length of time; the rest is sadly true. Every. Single. Time.

But what if I told you that there is a brilliant way of using up all that pasta? Would you be interested? Well, last time I made macaroni for the whole of my apartment block and their friends, I used the rest to make my leftover pasta frittata. The great news is that any pasta will work.


What is a frittata?

The word frittata is Italian and roughly means fried. Frittatas are very similar to an omelette. They both use pretty much the same ingredients, but they are cooked a little differently (see below). A simple dish, often eaten for brunch, there is no data that confirms where the frittata originates from, although there are indications that they were eaten in Ancient Rome, and perhaps originated from the Middle East. To make the confirmation of origin even more difficult, frittata is enjoyed all over Italy (with regional adaptations). 


What is the difference between a frittata, omelette and Spanish tortilla?

An omelette is usually not cooked on both sides, but instead, has one side folded over into the middle. Whereas a frittata is flipped over and cooked on both sides. Some frittata recipes call for it to be made on the hob (so the bottom is cooked), and then finished off under a grill. This means that you would need a cast iron skillet, or similar. I decided to cook both sides, although half way through I doubted my decision when I wasn’t sure if it would slide out of the pan or not.

Another difference is that omelettes are generally cooked at a much higher temperature. Frittatas are slowly fried on a much lower heat. In many ways, frittatas are more similar to a Spanish tortilla (it definitely reminded me of one when I was making my leftover pasta frittata). Unlike frittatas and tortillas, omelettes are usually eaten as soon as they are cooked, but the other two are often served warm (or even cold).



What else can you add to a frittata?

I kept mine fairly simple and just add one small red onion, and a touch of garlic. However, you can add whatever you like. Bacon, sausages, mushrooms, or peppers would all be amazing. The world is your oyster, so go with whatever you fancy (or have in the fridge to use up).


What does a pasta frittata taste like?

It should go without saying that the texture of pasta frittata is a little different to a regular version. One thing that is similar though, and that is you shouldn’t overcook either. If you do, you will end up with a rubbery dish that is not very appealing.

For me, it tasted a bit like a drier macaroni and cheese with crunchy bits. This could be because I used macaroni pasta. This might not have been true if I’d used spaghetti, for example. I added parmesan to the top, which I wouldn’t do when making macaroni and cheese, so it also reminded me of a creamy spaghetti dish I make. In all honesty, I have never eaten anything quite like it. I had a few bites when it was hot, but a little surprisingly, I much preferred it cold.


Other 30 minute meals

Pasta frittata is a way to use up leftover food in a fast way. Life is busy, and it’s always nice to have a few quick meals on hand. Here are some of my favourite 30 minute dinners:


Leftover Pasta Frittata

This leftover pasta frittata is a brilliant way to use up cooked pasta. It is perfect for brunch, or eat it cold on a picnic.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, light lunch, picnic
Cuisine Italian
Keyword brunch, dinner, eggs, fried, frittata, leftovers, lunch, parmesan, pasta, picnic, red onion
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 4 eggs (medium)
  • 100ml (½ cup) milk
  • pepper and salt (to taste)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 100g (3½ oz) grated mozzarella
  • 350g (12½ oz) cooked pasta (any kind)
  • 40g (3 tbsp) butter
  • 1 red onion (small)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • parmesan (for sprinkling - optional)
  • chives (for decoration - optional)


  • Whisk the eggs together and add in the milk.
  • Next, add as much salt and pepper as you like along with the paprika.
  • Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl, and stir the mozzarella through.
  • Add the egg/milk mixture and stir until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Melt 20g (1½ tbs) butter in a pan.
  • Finely chop the onion, and then add to the melted butter.
  • Fry until the onion softens (a couple of minutes), and then add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  • Remove the onion/garlic with a slotted spoon, leaving most of the butter in the pan. Stir into the cooked pasta mixture.
  • Add the remaining 20g (1½ tbs) butter to the pan and when melted, pour in your frittata mixture.
  • Cook on a moderate heat (not too high) for around 10 minutes. The middle will be almost cooked (but will still jiggle a little) and the edges will firm up (you can test this by pushing a spatula down the sides).
  • Take a large plate, and place it over the pan (the plate needs to be bigger than the pan).
  • Gently turn the pan and plate upside down, and then carefully slide the frittata back into the pan.
  • Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes or so.
  • When ready, sprinkle with a little parmesan and chives (if you like). Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!


I have converted grams to cups/ounces/tablespoons using online converters. Although I have no reason to believe they are inaccurate, please be aware that I have not made this recipe with imperial measurements.



I’m in the Amazon Associates program, and some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click and buy. Please read my disclosure and privacy policy for more information.




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