Why is this the perfect time of year for a Tomato-Pesto Frittata? It’s impressive, it’s easy, and it’s made to satisfy a crowd.
So then what makes this frittata so special? The right tomatoes, of course. (And as the Jolly Tomato, we know our tomatoes.) For all of our canned and jarred tomatoes, we’re choosing The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe.
The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe
The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe is a three-year campaign on behalf of ANICAV – the Italian Association of Canned Vegetable Industries. ANICAV members account for over 60% of all the processed tomatoes in Italy. In addition, they account for nearly all of the whole peeled tomatoes in the world. (That includes the internationally renowned San Marzano tomatoes).
These European tomatoes are special because of the great care taken in growing and preserving them. Artisan farmers grow these tomatoes grow in rich fertile land, pick them at their peak of ripeness, and preserve them by time-honored methods. Additionally, they’re so flavorful that they don’t require the additives or flavoring ingredients that other canned tomatoes might need. They’re perfect just as they are. In fact, we like to think that these are the very tomatoes that our European ancestors relied on to make their meals special.
So, back to the tomato pesto frittata. You’re going to start with beautiful Italian tomatoes as the base for this dish. You’ll make a quick sauce using peeled whole chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil.
Next you’re going to mix some cooked pasta (we used gemelli) with the tomato sauce, and also whip up some eggs and cream.
Then after you mix the eggs and pasta together, you’re going to pour half of the mixture into a cast-iron pan and layer on some mozzarella.
Then you’ll pour over the remaining pasta-egg mixture and add more pesto, basil, and parmesan.
You’ll cook it over the stove first, just to get the outer edges firmed up. Then you’ll put it in the oven to bake it. And just like that, you have your perfect and beautiful red and green dish! Perfect for Christmas, and fitting for just about anytime you want to salute Italian cuisine.
This Tomato-Pesto Frittata is a beautiful red and green dish, perfect for serving a crowd.
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 10 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained, de-seeded, and chopped
- 2 leaves fresh basil, torn into pieces
- pinch salt
- 8 ounces cooked pasta (we used gemelli)
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
For the pesto:
- 2 ounces fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (plus additional for garnish)
- 1/4 tsp salt
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add the garlic. When the garlic is sizzling, add the tomatoes, basil, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the flavor is combined and the sauce has reduced down and is no longer watery. Remove from heat and stir in the pasta.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream. Add the pasta mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
Make the pesto: Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor until they are evenly blended into a paste. Set aside.
Heat the second tablespoon of olive oil in a nine-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat, making sure the oil is distributed evenly over the pan. Pour half of the pasta-egg mixture into the pan. Layer the slices of mozzarella cheese over the pasta-egg mixture. Dollop about half of the pesto around the mozzarella. Cover all with the remaining pasta-egg mixture. Add the remaining pesto on top. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the mixture on the stove top over medium heat for about five minutes. When the sides have firmed up, switch the pan over to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until the center feels firm to the touch.
See how it’s pretty deep? You can slice this tomato pesto frittata into wedges to serve it, just like a pie.
Interesting sidebar: This frittata is not as “eggy” as some frittatas. In fact, we didn’t even mention to our kids that it was an egg dish. We just told them it was baked pasta (which it is) and they ate it right up.
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