Welcome to my world!

I've developed a passion for cooking since childhood, but in the past six years, that passion has grown into a geeky obsession. I love cooking, baking, and most importantly, sharing the love of food with family and friends. I invite you along on my journey of food discovery and passion.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1,001 uses for leftover pasta

After visiting Italy, I am fundamentally convinced pasta is or should be its own food group. You can add just about anything to a pasta and mix it with a million different sauce options - go Asian, Italian, Mexican, or heck - German. Add a protein and vegetable for a complete, possibly one-dish meal.

Courtesy of wikipedia.com
After making all of those lovely lasagna noodles, I was left with a million possibilities to use the plentiful leftovers.  What to do, what to do.... One option was rollatinis - roll up fillings in the noodles and bake in a sauce.  
Courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Another option was to tear the noodles up into "rags" and make a pasta dish. 

Spaghetti Frittata Recipe
Courtesy of EatingWell.com
A third I considered was a spaghetti fritatta - slicing the pasta into thin ribbons and cooking in an omelet base. 

Any and all of them are worthy candidates, and in due time, I will probably try them all.  But today, when I thought of rollatini, it made me think it was too similar to lasagna.  And when I considered fritatta, I didn't want another baked dish, so pasta rags it was!  How simple is that, to quote Ina Garten? 

Tear (or slice) pasta up into random bites and add to whatever protein and sauce.

I had chicken breasts, frozen peas, frozen broccoli, heavy cream, and parmesan handy, so chicken alfredo-esque pasta it was!  No specific recipe, just techniques of food preparation.

I browned the chicken in a little olive oil after seasoning with salt and pepper.  Setting the chicken aside to rest, and using the same skillet, I added about 1/4 cup of chicken broth and broccoli and cooked on medium heat until done.   The broccoli was added to the chicken in the dish and it was sauce time in the skillet! 

By now, I had these wonderful brown bits in the skillet, so I added in about 1/4 cup of white wine and scraped the skillet down.  After boiling off the wine a bit, I added in 1/4 cup of chicken broth and seasoned to taste.  I made a slurry of 1 Tbsp. to 3 Tbsp. of cool chicken broth and added to thicken the sauce.  A splash (about 1/4 cup) of heavy cream, brought to a boil, salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne, and the sauce was done. 

In about 20 minutes, I had a hearty pasta dish
from leftovers and pantry ingredients! 
Happy eating!

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