If you're like me, you always make too much pasta and have a ton left over. Here's a way to use it! My Parmesan Cheese Skillet Spaghetti Cake uses pantry or fridge items you simply bake in a cast iron skillet. It's pretty fantastic. In fact, you can throw just about anything you want in there... leftover roasted veggies, a bit of sausage or even leftover short ribs. This easy recipe is great for an impromptu party or for  dinner, as a side dish or anytime you have leftover pasta. Add some marinara on the side. You’ll love it!


Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 15 minutes


1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

12 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked and drained

2 eggs

1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese, grated, plus 1/4 cup more for serving

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes



Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Toss with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Set aside.

Put the eggs in a large bowl and whisk them well. Whisk in the salt, pepper and the garlic. Add the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat evenly.

Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron or oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. When it gets hot, add the smashed garlic clove and let it cook 1-2 minutes but don’t let it burn. Remove from heat. Use the back of a knife to turn the garlic clove into a paste. Mix it into the pasta.

Turn the heat down to medium. Carefully spin the hot skillet to distribute the olive oil. Pour the pasta mixture into the hot pan. Let it cook 3-4 minutes or until well-browned. Use a large spatula or two small ones to flip the cake and brown the other side; about 4 minutes more. The cake is done when the eggs are set and the cheese is melted.

If you prefer not to flip the cake, no problem. You can finish it in the oven. Before you start, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Once you've cooked the cake on the stove to brown the bottom, move the pan into the oven and cook for 10 minutes more or until the top is golden brown and the eggs are completely set. (Make sure to use an oven safe pan like a cast iron skillet)

To serve, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and turn it out on a heat-proof platter or wooden cutting board. Sprinkle with more freshly grated Parmesan and some finely chopped Italian parsley.

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For an episode of Food Network Star, I was asked to come up with a recipe for the Miami Herald when we were shooting in Miami during the final weeks. I wanted to offer a simple recipe for a party or for everyday and I wanted to use items readers could easily find. Both fish and citrus made sense for Miami but I’ve made this recipe many times since then and with many different flavors and ingredients. Use what is fresh and local for you. It is stunning in simplicity, presentation, and taste. 


Skill level: Easy      Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes based on size and density of fish


6 fish filets/steaks, preferably grouper
4 lemons
2 limes 
3 teaspoons olive oil 
2 teaspoons salt, divided 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar 
1 teaspoon honey
3 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, minced

 Special equipment: 6 parchment paper squares, large enough to fold into a package around the filets so no steam escapes.


 Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Juice 2 lemons and 1 lime. Reserve. Slice 2 lemons and 1 lime into very thin slices. Set aside. 

Place a few lemon and lime slices in the center of each parchment square. Place a fish filet on top. (The citrus will elevate the fish from the paper and infuse some additional flavor to the fish.)

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon each lemon and lime, juices and drizzle over fish. Tightly fold the parchment paper into packages and make sure they are sealed well. Put packages on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness and size of your fish.

Put remaining citrus juices in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce by ½, stirring frequently. Add 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and honey.

Mix the lemon zest, parsley, garlic together with a slight pinch of salt and pepper for the garnish.

Place each parchment packet on a plate with a rim. Carefully tear or cut open the parchment packets (be careful, steam will escape) and drizzle fish with a teaspoon of the citrus reduction and garnish with the parsley and lemon zest mixture.

 Yield:  6 servings