- If you’re using dried pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until barely tender, somewhat short of where you would normally cook it. Drain and immediately toss it in a wide bowl with half the butter or oil. Cool it a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the remaining butter or oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Beat the eggs with some salt and pepper in a large bowl, then stir in the pasta with half of the Parmesan and the herb if you’re using it. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and immediately turn the heat down to medium-low. Use a spoon if necessary to even out the top of the frittata. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture firms up on the bottom, 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to the oven. Bake until the top is just cooked, about 10 minutes more. Remove and serve hot or at room temperature with the remaining Parmesan.
Basic Frittata. As easy as it gets: Omit the pasta, add one more egg, and add all the Parmesan in Step 3.
Frittata with Grains. Substitute 11/2 cups or so cooked grains, like farro, wheat berries, rye berries, quinoa, bulgur, or buckwheat, for the pasta.
Bread Frittata. Poor people’s food, obviously, but good: Substitute 11/2 cups or so cubed or torn day-old crusty bread for the pasta.
Potato Tortilla. Cut into slices and serve as a Spanish tapa or a terrific sandwich filling. The large amount of olive oil isn’t a typo; most is poured off, and it can be used in sautéing or stir-frying (store in the fridge): Substitute 3 or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, for the pasta and add a medium thinly sliced onion. Use 1 cup olive oil and add one more egg. Omit the Parmesan. In Step 1, heat the oil in the pan over medium heat; add the potatoes and onion when a slice of potato bubbles in the oil. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, adjust the heat so the oil bubbles slowly (you don’t want to brown the potatoes), and cook the potato mixture, turning every few minutes, until tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. Drain the potato mixture in a colander, reserving the oil. Proceed with the recipe, using 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil to cook the tortilla. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.