Eggs are not usually an item on our weekly dinner menu, but I was recently inspired by the New York Times series of “recipes for health” featuring egg dishes. After several weeks of doing a weekly egg dish, I don’t know why I didn’t start it sooner. Eggs are cheap, quick to prepare, filling without being heavy, and lend themselves to a variety of flavors. They are, in a nutshell, the perfect weeknight meal.
When I first started reading the series, I was especially struck by the frittata recipes. While the definitions of frittata vary, I have always understood it to be a type of omelet that is started on the stove, finished in the oven, and served in large, satisfying wedges.
I had seen countless frittatas cooked on the FoodNetwork, but I had never actually cooked one myself. But after looking up frittata recipes on Epicurious and seeing the alluring combination of ingredients—ricotta, parmesan, eggs, basil—I couldn’t resist. After I had cooked my first frittata, my second and third quickly followed. I was in frittata heaven.
Here is my variation on this fritatta recipe, which I found on Epicurious and was taken from True Tuscan. And by the way, I don’t make it with the high-quality ricotta cheese the recipe describes—I just make it with the ordinary stuff you buy at the grocery store. I like to serve it with a green salad and a fresh baguette.
Weeknight Frittata With Shallots, Mushrooms, and Basil
6 eggs, lightly beaten
15 oz (small container) of ricotta (the full-fat kind, not the reduced fat kind)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
I/2 tablespoon butter (or you can substitute with a couple teaspoons of olive oil)
1 pint mushrooms, roughly chopped (I always get the crimini because they are affordable, but I bet wild mushrooms would be to-die-for)
3 medium shallots, chopped fine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, gently stir the ricotta and parmesean cheeses into your eggs until the mixture is uniform. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium-sized omelet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt, and sauté until the shallots are translucent, and the mushrooms are brown and caramelized on the outside (depending on how impatient I am and how much I turn up the heat, this can take five to ten minutes).
Pour the egg and cheese mixture into the pan. Before it sets, fold in the mushrooms, shallots, and basil. Then let it sit for a couple minute on the stove top until the bottom and sides are set (I can usually tell when this happens because the middle will begin to bubble). Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, until set in the middle and slightly golden on top.
Turn out onto a plate and serve in wedges.
Whoila! Instant weeknight dinner.