The cooking times are for the Caramelised Shallot Pasta. Turning it into a frittata on day two takes about 30 minutes or so (10 minutes of prep, 20 minutes in the oven).
I came across Alison Roman’s famous Caramelised Shallot Pasta via a blog comment where someone was having a moan about her but mentioned that this dish was incredible. I had a quick Google and the ingredients jumped out at me - I had to make this dish and I’ve been making it regularly ever since.
The recipe makes enough sauce so that half of it should be saved and put to use elsewhere. It’s a wonderfully versatile sauce and a good idea in principle but I don't always get around to using it so rather than potentially wasting it, which would be a tragedy, I cook double the amount of pasta, use all of the sauce and happily eat leftovers for days. Recently I’ve been turning the leftovers into a pasta frittata by adding eggs, parmesan, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes and a scattering of panko breadcrumbs (going against the whole “...not everything needs cheese” ethos of the recipe).
I learned how to make pasta frittata from Gino D'Acampo's book, Gino’s Pasta, and his Spaghetti Frittata with Parmesan and Rocket is my go-to recipe. Gino helpfully explains how to quickly turn any leftover pasta into a frittata and I think that caramelised shallot pasta, with its clingy, dry-textured sauce, works especially well.
I love the original dish. It’s one of the best plates of pasta I’ve come across and I can’t claim that frittata-ing it is any sort of improvement but I really enjoy the transformation of the taste and texture. If you’re a fan of pasta frittatas then this might work for you, but if not, just cook the caramelised shallot pasta as it was intended and enjoy the magic of a few simple ingredients* combining into sweet, salty, tangy perfection.
*Please don’t leave out the anchovies. If they horrify you, you could reduce them to 30g.
This is a two part recipe, where some of the pasta is eaten on day one, then the rest is (optionally) turned into a frittata on day two. I get the following portions out of 500g of pasta:
- 2 x dinner sized portions of pasta
- 2 x dinner sized portions of frittata
- 2 x lunch sized portions of frittata
Spaghetti or linguine will work well but, if you can, this sauce deserves bucatini.
Including a leafy green vegetable and squeeze of lemon are my additions to the Caramelised Shallot Pasta recipe - feel free to omit them.
The original recipe is cooked in a Dutch oven but I don’t own one so I use a heavy-bottomed saucepan instead.
Caramelised Shallot Pasta by Alison Roman in NYT Cooking.
Caramelised Shallot Pasta
- 60ml olive oil
- 6 banana shallots, finely sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic (4 sliced, 1 chopped)
- 50g anchovies
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 150g tomato purée
- 200g rainbow or Swiss chard (or spinach)
- 500g bucatini pasta (or spaghetti or linguini)
- salt and black pepper
- 20g fresh parsley, chopped
- juice from half a lemon
- around 1kg of leftover caramelised shallot pasta (doesn't need to be exact)
- 75g cherry tomatoes (or 30g of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 80g Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- olive oil
- Caramelised Shallot Pasta: Place a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add 60ml of olive oil and 6 finely sliced banana shallots to the saucepan. Cook for around 15 minutes stirring frequently to prevent the shallots from burning.
- Add 4 sliced cloves of garlic to the saucepan (reserve the chopped clove to finish the dish) and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the shallots have turned golden brown and caramelised.
- Add 50g of anchovies and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the saucepan. Stir until the anchovies have dissolved then add 150g of tomato purée and cook for another 5 minutes.
- If you’re using a leafy green (200g), add it to the saucepan and stir until it wilts.
- In a large saucepan, cook 500g of pasta according to the instructions on the packet but reduce the time by at least 2 minutes as the pasta needs to be very al dente. Once it’s cooked reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Drain the pasta, add it back into the saucepan then add the shallot sauce along with 1 cup of the pasta water. Turn the hob underneath the saucepan to low and stir the pasta, adding more pasta water until the sauce is thick and the pasta is fully coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine 20g of chopped parsley leaves and stalks with the reserved, chopped clove of garlic. Dish out 2 portions of pasta into warm bowls (I serve around 300g per person) then top with the parsley-garlic mixture and a squeeze of lemon juice. Eat immediately and store the remaining pasta in the fridge to be eaten as leftovers or turned into a frittata.
- Frittata: Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Line a medium to large roasting tin or baking dish with greaseproof paper (the size depends on how much pasta you have - I usually have about a kilo left over and I use a 20 x 30cm tin). Tip the leftover pasta into the tin.
- Add 75g of halved cherry tomatoes or 30g of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in and around the pasta.
- Combine 4 beaten eggs with 50g of Parmesan (reserving 30g of Parmesan for later) and a good pinch of black pepper. Whisk well and pour evenly over the pasta.
- Scatter over the remaining 30g of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs then drizzle over a little olive oil. Transfer the tin to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the eggs have set and the top is lightly golden brown. To be honest, I cook it for 30 minutes because I like it when the pasta on top goes hard and chewy but that kind of texture might not appeal to everyone.
- Once cooked, allow the frittata to sit for 5 minutes then cut into portions and eat immediately. Store any leftover frittata in the fridge and eat at room temperature.