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Flavorful frittata is good for any meal

Recipe: Spinach-mushroom-pancetta frittata for breakfast, lunch or dinner

An 8-inch cast-iron skillet is ideal for making this spinach-mushroom-pancetta frittata.

An 8-inch cast-iron skillet is ideal for making this spinach-mushroom-pancetta frittata. Debbie Arrington

Frittatas – Italy’s answer to the omelet – can be cooked on top of the stove or baked in the oven. I prefer to do a little of both – starting the frittata on a burner, then finishing it at 375 degrees for a golden brown finish.

That means using an ovenproof pan that can take the heat either way. An 8-inch cast-iron skillet is ideal.

Pancetta adds an earthy saltiness to the mushrooms and spinach in this anytime frittata, which can be an entree for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Chopped bacon or ham can be substituted for the pancetta, or skip the meat altogether. Make sure the chopped bacon is cooked through before adding the egg mixture.)

I grow my spinach in pots so I can move it out of the scorching sun in summer. But heat-resistant New Zealand spinach will work in this recipe, too.

Spinach-mushroom-pancetta frittata

Serves 2 to 4

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup onion, chopped

½ cup pancetta, diced

2 cups spinach

5 large eggs

½ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute mushrooms and onions until onions are soft. Stir in pancetta; saute until edges start to brown. Stir in spinach, one handful at a time, until wilted.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add cream and hot sauce. Fold in cheddar cheese.

Carefully pour egg-cream mixture into the pan over the spinach-mushroom-pancetta mixture. With the handle of a wooden spoon, gently swirl contents of the pan so the filling ingredients mix with the eggs.

Transfer the pan to a 375-degree oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a thin-bladed knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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