Sometimes the kids slurp up great gobs of spaghetti; other times, they nibble one small bowl and announce that they’re finished. Because I never know which response is coming, I make enough for a “great gobs” night.
Last week’s spaghetti night, however, was a “nibble” night.
I had a lot of leftover noodles.
We don’t mind leftovers for lunch or dinner, so heating up the noodles with sauce has been fine. I’ve made pasta salads with the leftovers, as well. But I was in the mood for something different.
Online I discovered something that’s a cross between a casserole, a frittata and a quiche that the author, Tea & Cookies, called a “Spaghetti Pancake” in her August 2007 post entitled, “What to Do with Leftover Spaghetti.”
What a great title. And what a flexible and tasty little dish!
I read the entire post (she’s a great writer) and enjoyed the photos. Then I read the comments—and there are many—with the suggested variations. I recommend you do the same if you have leftover spaghetti and want to try it. You’ll be inspired.
Here’s the basic recipe from Tea & Cookies followed by the way I doctored it up:
- 3 cups cooked spaghetti noodles
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- black pepper to taste
- butter or oil for frying, at least 1 tsp
- Optional add-ins, as desired: chopped fresh herbs, diced tomatoes, proscuitto or bacon, cheese, small diced vegetables such as zucchini (dice very small so it will cook through), minced onion or garlic.
In a large bowl beat the eggs until smooth. Add the spaghetti noodles and mix until they are all coated. Mix in the salt and pepper and any add-ins you would like. Heat the oil or butter in a large frying pan: it should be well oiled. Pour the noodle mixture into the pan and allow to set on the bottom. Using a plastic spatula, run it around the side of the pancake, to prevent sticking to the pan. Peer under the bottom from time to time, until the pancake begins to brown. Turn over by sliding it onto a plate and putting the fry pan on top and flipping over. Cook until slightly brown on both sides and the center has firmed. Turn out onto a plate and cut into wedges.
Note: If you’d like to make a smaller pancake—or have a smaller amount of leftover noodles to use up—you can easily decrease the amounts here. You just want to make sure that all the noodles are coated and the mixture isn’t too soupy with beaten egg.
Ann’s Spaghetti Pancake Variation:
After following her basic recipe with the spaghetti, eggs, salt & pepper (and olive oil to cook), I added some garlic, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese. That was really good.
Then I remembered some tiny bits of very tasty ham I had in the freezer. I heated them up in the microwave and put them on top of each bite, pretending I’d cooked it all together, and boy do I wish I had. That was scrumptious!
The final product, the so-called “Spaghetti Pancake,” was skillet-sized and -shaped, which we sliced like a pizza. I don’t know about the kids—they’re funny about garlic—but the one who tried it liked it. The others were doing something else for dinner.
As for me, I was delighted! This was so simple, flexible, fast, and filling!
Someone on her comments suggested a combination of cheese, ham, and peas, which sounds delicious to me. Or I could keep the basil and add prosciutto and fresh tomatoes. That sounds heavenly. I love the idea of tossing in different cheeses, spices and leftover bits of veggies and meats—using whatever’s on hand—to yield endless variations.
Again, the speed with which this comes together is extremely fast. I could whip this up for a friend coming over for lunch and offer a warm and satisfying meal.As a main dish, this would serve as a substantial lunch or a simple dinner, good with a salad.
It could be a side dish at dinner with extra vegetables from a summer garden, like sauteed onions, zucchini and yellow squash. Or it could be the multi-course “entree,” which is the first course (not the main dish), like a quiche often is. A slice of this with a sprig of basil on top of each—wouldn’t that look pretty?
.This is what it looked like on my table that night (before the ham bits):
The photo is rather uninspiring. It was too late to use anything but a flash for the photo. Be sure to visit the original site to see her shots—you’ll see better what it should turn out like.
Perhaps you’d like to see the much-visited Thick and Chewy, Fast and Easy Pizza Dough recipe?
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What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.
Brian Alexander says
Interesting, I not sure I would have ever thought of that.
That looks like a great recipe… thanks for sharing… first time here and I love your blog.
last night my hubbie came home early from work…I was in the midst of my usual hectic dinner preparation: with a pot of boiling water on the stove I was in the midst of feeding our 8 month old, helping our 2 year old at the potty, and checking our 8 year olds homework progression. My husband saw the boiling water and asked if he could put in the spaghetti, without looking at how much there actually was I said “sure, throw it all in, I’m going to blend up the left overs for Aria” (the 8 month old). By the time I made it over to the pot I realized there was WAY more than I had thought and we ended up with enough spaghetti to feed us for a week! I’m definitely going to try this recipe tonight.
Maria Agda says
For left over spaghetti try using pizza dough and put it on top sprinkle it with mozzarella and cook it like pizza into the oven. We called it Pizza spaghetti .
The kids loves it.
I actually had a spaghetti pancake in a Boston restaurant years ago. It was topped with a sun dried tomatoe sauce. It was AWESOME! I bet a nice portabella mushroom sauce would be good too. Now I just need to find the sauce recipes. Thanks!!
My mom use to always make this recipe for me growing up. It has always been a favorite. So simple, yet so delicious!
I made the basic spaghetti pie and added Italian sausage, shredded mozzarella cheese, a can of drained diced tomatoes, and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. I started cooking it on the stove, but it filled my pan a bit too much to flip. So after the bottom got a little crispy (about 7 minutes on the stovetop), I placed it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, until the top was brown. I then added a little more mozzarella cheese on the top and baked it for another 5 minutes. It turned out great!
Emily, thanks so much for this description–it *does* sound great! I like the idea of the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes, as some of my experiments with spaghetti pies have ended up a little bland. Mmmm…I can taste the crispy. Yum.
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Kathleen Brown says
This first appeared in Jane Brody’s good food cookbook in the 80’s.
it was good then, too. Try it with some different grain pasta, not just for celiacs. whole grains with excelent the same texture. My fav is corn, followed closely by Quinoa and then brown rice
Ann Kroeker says
Oh, I’m so glad to have an original source, Kathleen. Thank you! I also like the idea of cooking up with other leftovers. I think I might like the quinoa option a lot in this way.