The two inherently great things about pasta are that anyone can cook it and everyone loves eating it. Whether swirled with red sauce or dressed up in garlic, red pepper flakes, and broccoli rabe (my favorite), there’s really no wrong way to do pasta. The only downside is that it’s traditionally confined to table-chair-and-fork situations. Until now, that is: enter the spaghetti pancake.
This crispy spaghetti pancake recipe liberates pasta from the context of seated dining and turns it into a fun finger food for cocktail parties, picnics, or even an after school snack for kids. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover pasta.
The precedent for this spaghetti pancake idea is spaghetti pie (pasta tossed with eggs and tomato sauce and baked in a springform pan), a version of which appears in my cookbook and is inspired by Smitten Kitchen. Now, I still love spaghetti pie very much – especially its regal, cake-like presentation. But, [insert gritting teeth emoji here] I have to say the spaghetti pancake has won over my affections.
Firstly, these pancakes are easier and faster to make because they’re thinner and cook in minutes on the stove rather than in the oven. Secondly, spaghetti pancakes offer a satisfying crunch in every bite, whereas the pie offers only a few crispy bits from where the pasta made contact with the baking dish. (Sorry, spaghetti pie! It’s not personal.)
For flavoring this dish, I was inspired by cacio e pepe – the elegant pairing of cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. To keep it dairy-free, I used nutritional yeast instead of cheese to give the pasta a savory flavor. It’s important to be patient when cooking the spaghetti pancakes and not flip them until the underside is nicely browned and crispy all over. The pancakes are delicious on their own but great dipped into marinara as well.
Need to use up leftover spaghetti? This spaghetti pancake recipe liberates pasta from the context of seated dining and turns it into a fun finger food for cocktail parties, picnics, or even an after school snack for kids.
- 3 eggs
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on a diagonal, plus more for garnishing
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ pound whole wheat spaghetti, cooked, cold from the fridge (See Note)
- About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- Marinara sauce, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, scallions, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth. Add the spaghetti and toss to coat evenly.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to evenly coat the bottom. Add half of the spaghetti mixture, press with a spatula to flatten it, and cook until the pancake is golden brown, crispy all over, and slides out of the skillet easily, about 6 minutes. Invert the pancake on a plate, add a bit more oil to the skillet, and slide the pancake back in to cook the other side, about 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the pancake to a cutting board and cook the second pancake.
- To serve, slice the pancakes into 6 slices each and garnish with extra scallions, if desired. Serve immediately with the marinara.
If you want to cook pasta specifically for this recipe, boil it in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under running water. Transfer the pasta to a shallow pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 15 minutes (or covered, up to several days) to cool the pasta completely and dry it out a bit.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 180
- Fiber: 2.7 g
- Protein: 7.6 g