Zucchini, Leeks and Feta Frittata with Mario Batali’s Spicy Pesto Pantesco over Rösti‏

Zucchini, Leeks and Feta Frittata with Mario Batali’s Spicy Pesto Pantesco over Rösti‏

I’ve never been to Italy, but I can picture Ren and myself enjoying this for breakfast in the piazza of some small, romantic Tuscan town. It’s a bright and refreshing summer day, the air light and crisp. Golden fields of sunflowers sway softly in full bloom. The early morning sky tastes so fresh and clean that breathing the air makes you feel like it would dye your lungs the same shade of blue.

As we savor every morsel of this delicious and wonderfully textured dish, the sun gently approaches and warms us like an old friend, telling us that it’s time to take the last sip of our espressos, and explore this beautiful, sensual, countryside.

Bright and summery. I just love the colors and textures on this plate. Ren didn’t just make a plate of food with this dish, she created a mood.
Zucchini, Leeks and Feta Frittata with Mario Batali's Spicy Pesto Pantesco over Rösti‏

Eggs, for me, are the ultimate comfort food.
Zucchini, Leeks and Feta Frittata with Mario Batali's Spicy Pesto Pantesco over Rösti‏


Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (basil may also be used)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, optional


  1. Adjust rack to upper middle position about 5 inches from broiler, then heat.
  2. Whisk eggs, sour cream, dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl until well combined, for about 30 seconds. Set eggs aside.
  3. Heat butter in 12-inch nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add leeks and mushrooms (if using), 1/4 tsp salt; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add zucchini and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Stir mint leaves and half of feta cheese into eggs. Add egg mixture to skillet and cook, while stirring with spatula, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Shake skillet to distribute eggs evenly. Cook without stirring for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, to let bottom set. Distribute remaining feta cheese evenly over frittata.
  6. Place skillet under broiler and broil until frittata has risen and surface is puffed and has brown spots, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Remove skillet from oven and let stand for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Using spatula, loosen frittata from skillet and slide onto platter. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of mixed greens and good, crusty bread. And instead of the usual tomato sauce, jazz up the frittata by serving it over rösti and with Mario Batali’s spicy pesto pantesco. (recipe below)

Spicy Pesto Pantesco (from Mario Batali)


  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, picked over
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, picked over
  • 1 cup parsley, picked over
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a blender, place mint, basil, parsley, garlic, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, red pepper and half the olive oil. Process in short bursts until roughly chopped.
  2. Turn blender on full and drizzle in remaining oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove pesto and place in a bowl.


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3/4 kilo (750 g) potatoes, washed
  • 3 Tbsps (60 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place unpeeled potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely.
  2. Peel and grate potatoes then place in a large bowl with the butter, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add potato mixture and press down firmly. Cook until base is golden brown and crisp.
  4. Slide rösti out of pan onto a large board. Flip rösti over and back into the pan so that the golden side is now facing up. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until cooked through and base is golden brown and crisp.


That a frittata in Italy is a common way to prepare leftovers – usually pasta or vegetables – from the night before?

Placed between slices of bread, it is commonly eaten as a panino (stuffed rolls or rustic shaped sandwich) or as a snack (spuntino). Always fried and never baked, its name comes from the verb friggere, which means to fry.

Original Source

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He’s the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don’t listen to him.

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