But post-holiday dining needn't be a sacrifice of nourishment, flavor, or comfort - not when there is macaroni and cheese. Prepared with a foundation of ingredient staples, you likely have most of the fixings for this recipe already on hand. Cooked on the stove top and finished in the oven, a medley of colorful vegetables and Italian herbs flatter a dense disk of omelet fortified with Wisconsin Parmesan and glowing with the blistered, melted crust of Mozzarella. Appropriate for brunch or a light supper, it can be served elegantly for adults when paired with wine and a baby greens salad, yet it is also fun for kids to eat out of hand like pizza, cutting cleanly for fuss-free dining. When macaroni and cheese is served, everyone is happy.
Wisconsin Parmesan and Pasta Cacciatore Frittata - My own recipe developed for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Makes 6 servings
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese
2 cups cooked pasta (a small shape such as penne or rotini)
2 cups shredded Wisconsin Cheese (I used a blend of reduced-fat Smoked Provolone, Parmesan, Asiago, and Mozzarella, although any one of them is a tasty complement.)
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
In a 10-inch non-stick skillet, over medium-low heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers (10 seconds). Add red and green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté vegetables, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned but not soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in herbs, salt, and black pepper. Remove from heat and reserve.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with grated Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese. Stir in cooked pasta, then stir in sautéed vegetables. Wipe clean the interior of skillet used to cook vegetables. Return it to stove top. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil briefly over medium heat, making sure it thoroughly coats bottom of skillet, using a pastry brush if necessary. When olive oil sizzles, quickly pour in egg/cheese/pasta mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook mixture undisturbed until the egg is mostly set and the sides of the frittata rise along the circumference of skillet (about 12 minutes). Remove skillet from heat. Carefully invert a very large plate over the skillet, one that is larger than the skillet itself. Holding the plate in place with your dominant hand, grip the skillet handle with your other hand and quickly flip the skillet over to release the frittata onto the plate. The browned and cooked bottom of the frittata will now be face-up on the plate. Gently slide frittata off the plate, back into the skillet to cook the underside over medium-low heat (another 5 minutes).
Preheat oven to 300°F. Slide cooked frittata onto an ovenproof plate. Top frittata with shredded Wisconsin Cheese. Bake frittata until cheese melts and browns. If your ovenproof plate can withstand the highest heat, you can finish the browning more quickly under the broiler. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Cut into wedges with a sharp knife. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well and are easily restored with a brief reheating.
F.T.C. Disclosure - This recipe, text, and photographs were created at the request of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board who compensated me for my work.