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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leftovers: Creamy Orecchiette with Roasted Vegetables, Chicken, and Leafy Greens

Whenever I manage to create a beautiful dish out of leftovers, I think about my grandmothers. Strong, hard working, stubborn and resourceful women (I got those genes), they can cook something great out of anything (and those genes too). Back in the old days there was no such thing as throwing food away, right?!

I think my cooking style is a bit old-fashioned in that way. As much as I enjoy a gourmet this or that, mid-high end food and restaurants, and following top chefs’ cookbooks and magazines, my way of cooking is a “no-nonsense cooking” – as I like to call it – using the resources of ingredients and time wisely and carefully. And the most important thing above and all is, of course, having a family meal at the end of the day with my husband and my kids.

I felt very proud of myself with the result of this pasta dish. Orecchiette is my favorite shape of pasta because it has a fun & funny shape and a soft but chewy texture, it is like having plenty of little cups on your plate, each one has a bit of the filling and sauce that surrounds it. It works so well with a mish-mash or mix and match kind of dish just like this one.

I had so many different leftovers at home and I didn’t feel like reheating any of them and eating them again as is, and then I thought: “of course, Orecchiette!”

You can really do whatever you want with it and throw in any kind of leftovers you have and it’ll work. I think. I hope. Because I really don’t know what kind of leftovers you got at home. I added some crème fraiche to it which I hesitated about, not being sure if it will match with all the different flavors. But it worked like magic, binding and bringing everything together. So this is how it went:

½ onion, small chopped
1/3 roasted whole chicken, pulled/cut to large bite-size pieces
3 breakfast sausages, diced
3-4 cups roasted vegetables (potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, rutabagas), diced if not already
Blanched kale and chard, chopped to large pieces
½ cup crème fraiche from the lovely onion tart in this post (substitute with heavy cream. Sour cream might work too)
1/3 cup grated cheese

Pantry items:
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
½ box of orecchiette or other kind of short pasta

Bring water and salt to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box.
Meanwhile, in a big big skillet sauté onion in olive oil until it softens. Add the garlic clove. Move to the side of the skillet and add the leftovers. Warm it all up good.
When pasta is ready, drain and add to the leftovers, add salt, ground black pepper, and crème fraiche. Mix and toss it all together. Serve with grated cheese.
That’s it!

Makes 6 servings

Tell me about your winner leftover & pasta recipes and I will post them here. E mail me at nurit AT familyfriendlyfood DOT com, or in a comment below.


Kevin said...

This pasta sounds tasty! I am thinking that a sweet squash of a sweet potato would work well in it. I like the kale and or chard! I like to try to work green vegetables into my meals whenever I can.

j & j dish it out said...

I want to be like that! I want to be able to whip something up with what I have in my bare cupboards or ice box (as they used to say). I'm not very good at it and it doesn't help that I have 4 little picky eaters...they are totally cramping my cooking style!