A few months ago I posted about using leftovers to make soup or rice. Today, I used our leftovers to make an AMAZING pasta dish!
Growing up, this was my mom’s go-to dish when she needed to use up leftovers. It ALWAYS turned out delicious. We’ve told her numerous times how much we loved a particular pasta dish, only to hear that she’d never be able to duplicate it again because it was just a mix of whatever was left in the fridge.
- Any leftover vegetables (I don’t recommend using potatoes or cauliflower)
- Dried pasta
- Pasta sauce (i.e. tomato, cream, pesto, etc.)
- Butter or oil
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: Leftover meats
- Optional: Leftover herbs
- Optional: grated cheese
- Chop up any vegetables, meats, or herbs that you are going to be including in the pasta. If you are using tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, then chop those up as well.
- Add oil or butter to a pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted or the oil is heated, add in any onion or pepper that you have.
- After about 2 minutes, add in the meat. If the meat is already cooked, you can immediately move on to the next step. Otherwise wait until the meat is browned on all sides before moving on.
- Throw the rest of your vegetables into the pan, except for spinach or other leafy greens (they cook too quickly). Saute your vegetables until softened. If you are using any dried herbs (not fresh), you can add them in now as well.
- Now pour in your pasta sauce and stir until combined. Let the pasta sauce simmer while you prepare the pasta.
- Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta as per the instructions on the box.
- When the pasta is about 5 minutes away from being done, add in any cheese or leafy greens to the pasta sauce and stir to combine. You can also choose to add cheese at the very end, as a garnish/topping.
- When the pasta is done, save about a 1/2 cup of the water before draining it. Combine the pasta and the sauce, and add a little bit of the water as needed until the sauce is your desired consistency. You may not need any of the water at all if you’re happy with the sauce as is.
- Garnish with grated cheese, green onion, some herbs, or nothing at all! Chef’s choice!
A quick suggestion: if you’re not planning on eating all of the pasta, then only cook as much of the dried pasta as you plan to eat. Store the extra sauce in a sealed container in the fridge. When you’re ready to finish the pasta, boil the pasta so it’s fresh and re-heat the sauce over the stove. It doesn’t take very long, and the food will taste fresh!
The pictures included here are from tonight’s Leftover Pasta that included onion, carrot, leek, green onion, green pepper, leftover chicken, tomato sauce, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese on top.