Cuisine Fiend

pasta fritta


fried pasta

This really doesn’t require a list of ingredients as the truly essential are three – or two, at a push: cold pasta and fat of some description. Add anything to it, whatever the contents of your fridge hide; or not – just salt and pepper will do too.

Refried pasta or pasta fritta is the most joyous side effect of not knowing how much pasta to cook. You pour your farfalle or macaroni out of the pack and it kind of disappears in the pan full of water – that can’t be right, it won’t feed a kitten! So you shake in a bit more, a bit more… ooops, the packet’s gone. Drained, it looks fit to sink a fleet and you have sauce enough to dress about a third.

Not to worry – I never do (and sometimes my hand shakes surreptitiously on purpose) because the surplus will make possibly an even better dish the next day – or even a couple of days later. Don’t rinse that drained pasta or drizzle with oil as, contrary to expectations, it will stick to a lump. But even then it’s all right – because pasta fritta is basically a pasta omelette. A little oil, butter or both, hot skillet e voilà! Pressed into the hot fat, it needs to crisp up underneath before the precarious flipping exercise.

pasta fritta

You can season, spice up or herb up cold pasta before frying, you can contrive a filling of prosciutto and cheese between layers of pasta or, like I did, add pea sized veg and cook with pasta.

pasta fritta

Servings: 2Time: 20 minutes


  • 200g (6oz.) cooked, drained pasta
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves stripped
  • 1 clove of green garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan plus more to serve


1. This works the easiest with leftover pasta, any smallish shapes. If you want to make it from scratch, cook pasta according to the instruction on the packet, drain and place in a bowl.


2. Break off the woody ends of asparagus, wash them and chop into ½ cm small pieces. Stir them into the pasta and season it generously with salt and pepper.
Chop the mint leaves very finely with the garlic clove.

3. Heat the oil with 1 tbsp. of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. When it’s sizzling, add the pasta to the pan and compact it by pressing down with a spoon. Dot the remaining tablespoon of butter over the pasta.

how to cook pasta fritta

4. Cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s starting to look golden and crusty around the edges. Cover the pan with a flat lid or upturned plate and flip the pasta onto it.

5. Slide it back into the pan to cook on the other side, for another 5 minutes.

flipping fried pasta

6. While it’s cooking, sprinkle some garlic and mint over the top and scatter the Parmesan.

7. Turn it out onto a serving plate like an omelette and sprinkle the other side with garlic, mint and Parmesan.

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