Today I want to talk about frying things. You know, in oil. Recently, Little e asked me what the difference is between a bagel and a doughnut. For a foodie that’s a complex answer, but I simplified it by saying, “Oil.” I know. I’m a careless parent who knowingly misleads her child in matters as crucial as baked goods. (Later, DH explained to her that there are other factors at play: yeast, boiling in brine, sugar content, glazes vs. seeds, etc. I know what you’re thinking. Way to be the better parent, DH.) But I will defend myself by saying that, from where I’m sitting, oil is the most important difference here. Because if I’m completely honest, I’d eat a doughnut over a bagel most days of the week. (But I love bagels too! I don’t know why I feel moved to say this, but there you go.)
Anyway, oil. Frying things in it. Have you read what Deb at Smitten Kitchen has to say about frittering any vegetable? And have you partaken in the (guilty)delight that is deep fried ice cream? Yes? I get mine here. So it should come as no surprise that I sometimes like to fry my pasta. Here’s the thing: I sometimes cook too much spaghetti. Maybe on purpose, but I never admit to it. Oops, until now. So what to do with the excess? Fritters of course.
Frittered spaghetti, crisp on the outside, soft within, held together by a slip of egg, golden specks of garlic and chile flakes throughout, heady with the scent of fresh herbs…shall I pen you a poem about this? And what is it? breakfast? Lunch? Snack? Of course it’s all of those.
We started using this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy several years ago and it still makes us swoon. The fritters are best when fresh out of the pan, but we also stick any leftovers in the fridge and reheat them later, when they’re not crispy. Still delicious. I’ll also admit to dipping these in ketchup. Up until recently, it was homemade spicy ketchup, but still, not exactly Italian.
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
7 oz dried pasta (cooked as per package instructions; we just use whatever quantity of leftover spaghetti is lying around and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly, but we’ve taken this one for a drive a few times.)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 handlfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese
optional: 2 anchovies, roughly chopped, 1-2 dried chiles (to taste), crumbled, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
**I’ll try adding finely chopped veg next time…maybe corn, broccoli and red bell pepper…
Put all your ingredients, apart from the spaghetti and olive oil, into a bowl and mix together. (If you’re not using leftovers, add your spaghetti to a pan of salted, boiling water and cook as per package instruction. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water to cool it down.) Once the pasta is cool, snip it with kitchen scissors into pieces roughly 3 inches long and add them to the bowl. Mix everything well.
Pour a little oil into a pan and place on the heat. Then, using a fork, add piles (as big or as small as you like) of the spaghetti mixture to the pan and fry until golden and crisp on both sides. We like to fry the fritters in a slightly hotter pan so they become really golden on the edges but are a bit softer and warm inside.
What do you do with leftover pasta?