How to feed a bratty bambino

18 March 2008 at 10:42 pm 9 comments

Like most 4 year olds, my daughter Bellie can’t stand the sight of vegetables. Present her with a dish of broccoli and she emits a blood-curdling scream, runs to the nearest corner, cowers into the fetal position and rocks herself to sleep while humming show tunes. A terrible sight.

In our quest to get her to eat her greens, we’ve tried all sorts of things such as bribing her with chocolate and panty hose but to no avail. So, like in all good families, I resorted to deceit and trickery. I am so evil, I puree and hide vegetables in the few things she likes to eat. And I invented this waaaay before Jessica Seinfeld even knew what a kitchen was for, so there!!

My husband Mimmo is the re della frittata (“the omelette king” just doesn’t sound as regal, non?) and together, we came up with this recipe that my picky daughter actually devours. It’s a little high in calories but kids don’t usually have any cholesterol issues. Not in this country anyway.

Vegetarians can leave the bacon out, of course. It still tastes great.

Here’s the recipe:

FRITTATA VERDE CON PANCETTA (Green Omelette with Pancetta)

Ingredients (for 4 people):

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked swiss chard (or spinach or any other green leafy veg)
1 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, if you can get it)
100 gr. pancetta cubes or bacon cut in small pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions (optional)


Cook the swiss chard in boiling salted water until white part is tender (around 10-15 min).


Drain, let cool and chop coarsely. Puree chard in blender. Add some of the cooking water while blending if too dry.


Beat eggs, add pureed vegetables, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Fry the pancetta (and onions if you can sneak them in there) on medium-low in a non-stick pan until almost crisp. Add egg mixture, make sure pancetta is distributed evenly and cover pan.


When the underside is golden, flip the frittata and cook until set. The flipping part can get a bit tricky. If you aren’t a mago like my father-in-law who can do it beautifully with a flick of his wrist, you can try this method: place a plate on top of the pan, then flip the pan upside down so the frittata remains on the plate. Slide the frittata back onto the pan, golden side up, and fry until the other side is cooked. If all this is too complicated for you and/or you’re afraid of a debilitating injury, don’t flip the frittata and just keep cooking until set on top.

Ecco la bella frittata!


Ok, so it ain’t that bella. But don’t let the picture fool you. This frittata is infused with an inner beauty that will astound and amaze your taste buds. The key is using a good quality cheese.

And the most important thing, she likes it!!!


I am contributing this recipe to Festa Italiana, organized by the hostesses with the mostestess, Maryann from Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie from Proud Italian Cook . It’s a blogospheric celebration of Italian food and drink. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, you have until March 22 to take part.


Buon appetito, piatto pulito!!!

Entry filed under: Food, Recipes.

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erin  |  19 March 2008 at 12:03 am

    Wow, aren’t you a smart mama! That sounds incredible. I should write that down and try it on my little munchkins.

  • 2. Marie  |  19 March 2008 at 2:18 am

    Hi Linda, Your frittata is not only great for your little Bellie, but for all adults to enjoy too! Thank you for joining us and bringing this delicious dish to our Festa Italiana, this will be a great addition!!

  • 3. Beatriz  |  19 March 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Great recipe! I on the other hand have a son that loves vegetables and hates eggs!!!! Any advice?

  • 4. Maryann  |  19 March 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Linda. Thanks for joining our festa Italiana.
    My kids loved frittata when they were small. A little ketchup…

  • 5. milanesemasala  |  19 March 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Erin – Thanks! More than smart, I think I was a desperate mama ; )

    Marie – Happy to be a part of the Festa. Can’t wait to see all the recipes!

    Beatriz – I loathed eggs too when I was little. Made me gag. I love them now so don’t give up hope! My hubby suggests hiding the eggs in a mini veggie quiche. Just make sure you cover the top of the quiche with puff pastry so your little guy won’t see the eggs. Let me know if it works!

    Maryann – I used to always add ketchup to my father’s infamous grey scrambled eggs (it’s a mystery how he managed to make it that colour) I had to cover the taste somehow!

  • 6. Cherrye  |  20 March 2008 at 11:04 am

    YUM! I am forwarding to that to Pep right now. Don’t tell Mimmo, but P “thinks” to be the omlette king himself. Maybe he is just the prince.

  • 7. Anne  |  20 March 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Hi just called in from My Melange….I have 3 grandchildren ages 4, 3 and 1 and they love broccoli….favourite dinner is Chicken, Potatoes, and veg, especially Broccoli…

  • 8. milanesemasala  |  20 March 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Cherrye – Well, the egg nobility seems to be ever-expanding! Since Italy used to be a hodgepodge of kingdoms and duchies, I do believe there’s room in this country for more than one omelette king. If P has any good recipes he’d like to share please pass them along. Ta!

    Anne – Thanks for visiting! You are so lucky your grandkids like their veg. No bribing for you!

  • 9. Anne  |  20 March 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Funny that, because they don’t like Peas…they like broccoli, carrots, cabbage,roasted parsnips. The three year old also loves raw carrot, raw peppers, Parmesan cheese,


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March 2008


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