Frittata with Tomatoes, Onions and Basil


If you have a barbecue going you can make this ‘omelette’ outside; otherwise make it at home and take it with you – it is particularly good cold. I ate it first in Tuscany where it can have many variations – it is an excellent way of using up any left-over vegetables, pasta, ham and cheese. Very different to the rapid cooking of a French omelette, this Italian version is cooked over a low heat, very gently, so is very easy to cook when doing other tasks.


  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 225 g/8 oz plum tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 eggs (size 1 or 2)
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 55 g/2 oz butter


Sweat the onions in the oil until quite soft and just browning. Skin and chop the tomatoes (you can also use tinned ones drained) and add to the onions with a little salt to taste. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the vegetables to the side of the pan and remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Leave to cool.

Beat the eggs until well mixed but not frothy. Add the vegetables, cheese, a good quantity of ground black pepper and more salt to your liking. Tear up the basil leaves, add and stir everything together. Melt the butter in a 30 cm/12 in. non-stick frying pan until it is just foaming. Pour in the egg mixture, lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes until the eggs are set but the top is still a bit runny. Then you can put the pan under the grill for half a minute.

Loosen the frittata with a pliable spatula and slide on to a suitable dish. Cut into wedges when cooled. It can be eaten warm with a salad or cold on a hunk of bread, as the schoolchildren and the workmen do for their lunch.