Jeff Smith, aka The Frugal Gourmet, was one of the first TV personality chefs with whom I completely fell in love. As a 12-year-old. Yes, I’m a food nerd from way back. My mom used to say I would grow up to become a “saucier” in a fancy restaurant. She was always envious of how I could throw together a new dish without a recipe and get recipes right on the first try. I still stand by beginner’s luck and my rebellious cooking nature. It’s not always a good thing to be good at throwing things together. I’ve taken to writing things down while I cook recently so other people can actually reproduce what I made. But sometimes pouring it in just can’t be properly translated to a tablespoon or 1/4 cup. So alas, some of my best dishes are lost to my lack of memory and measurements.
But I digress. When I was in love with The Frugal Gourmet, one of our favorite dishes to make was his Spaghetti Frittata. Talk about easy, and frugal! I made this for the first time (the original vegetarian, non-vegan version) at around age 11. So, this is definitely one you can get the kids in on. I highly recommend both versions.
Vegan Spaghetti Frittata
Adapted from Spaghetti Frittata in The Frugal Gourmet, by Jeff Smith (1984).
1/2 pound thin spaghetti, cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled
1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese substitute (vegan), recipe below, or parmesan cheese (real, not canned) divided
Parmesan Cheese Substitute
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or crumbled French fried onions (for a tangier cheese)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
House seasoning, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
Blend parmesan cheese ingredients in a food processor until cashews are powdered.
Turn oven on broil.
Blend all ingredients (reserving a bit of “parmesan”) together and fry in an oven-safe pan in olive oil until under-side is browned. Once under-side is browned (about 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat), top with reserved “parmesan” and broil until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Eat it all before your husband sees it. Or be sweet and share (I won’t tell if you don’t).
Holy parmesan. I adapted that “Walnut Parmesan Sprinkles” recipe out of a very cool book on vegan substitutions (The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions) and it is FANTASTIC. I made the vegetarian version (the original “Frug” version) not long ago and I think this vegan version is very similar taste-wise. And the cashews in the “parmesan” are a great protein source in lieu of the eggs. I loved this. And, yes, I shared, my husband loved it, too. I thought he may poo poo the lack of eggs and cheese, but he thought it was great. Our daughters both gobbled their portions up, too. We should’ve made a full pound of pasta.
What’s your favorite “childhood memory” dish?