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X Italian Egg and Cheese Dishes
spezzatini con piselli
Spezzatini con Piselli (Peas, Eggs and Cheese Mixture)
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

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2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 very small onion, finely chopped (optional)
3 eggs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For Garnish

1/2 tablespoon mint or parsley, finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional)


1. Cook frozen peas according to package directions. Drain.

2. Chop onion (if using). Fry till golden.

3. Add peas. Cool.

4. Beat eggs.

5. In a bowl, mix beaten eggs, peas, grated cheese, and onion mixture (if using).

6. Pre-heat oven to 375 F degrees.

7. Grease a small baking [springform] pan.

8. Place the spezzatini mixture in the greased [springform] pan [about 6 inches in diameter].

9. Bake for for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked.

10. Remove pan from the oven.

11. Turn on the broiler.

12. Garnish the cheese-eggs-and-peas mixture with grated cheese (if using) and broil until cheese is golden [about 2 minutes].

13. Remove pan from oven and cool.

14. Garnish with parsley or mint (optional).

15. Serve at room temperature.


This dish is incredibly simple to do. Often, things that are simple to do don't have a great taste, but this dish does. The combination of peas, eggs and cheese works very well. Of all the omelets I've had, this surely is my favorite.... Obviously, prior to World War II cooks did not use springform pans to cook this dish in. As no one had ovens back then (Fireplaces were all that were in use) cooks had to be very inventive. However, when Italians immigrated to North America, they quickly adapted their recipes and made use of their oven ranges. Most first-generation Italians chose to "bake" their spezzatini, rather than to saute the mixture. In fact, baking the mixture is quite important. The end result is much superior to anything that would come from using an oven burner. Also, the size and type of pan used affects the quality of the dish. The bigger the cooking pan, the thiner the omelet.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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