At this time of year most cooks end up with what some might think of as “those dreaded leftovers”. Then, there are some, like me, who really like the challenge of creating something new and exciting with them!
Take a roast turkey for instance! Just think of the possibilities: turkey salad with pears or apples and topped with bleu cheese. And speaking of wraps, how about burritos with turkey, beans, guacamole & cheese? Then there’s homemade soup or pasta with a creamy tomato sauce** and delicious turkey salad sandwiches with apple, celery, walnuts or pecans.**
And then there’s homemade tomato pasta sauce. The possibilities are endless: eggplant parmigiana, lasagne, or use as a sauce for chicken, veal, pork chops or on a pizza; brown off chicken in EVOO, remove from the pan, add very finely chopped onion, carrot, celery and saute until softened; add garlic, if you like, saute garlic without browning;, splash in some wine, reduce a bit, then pour in some stock; add the leftover tomato pasta sauce, cook down a bit, return the chicken to the pan heat through…here’s dinner! With a bit of leftover beef stew, I brown some Italian sausage, throw in some herbs, like rosemary, sage, or marjoram, the crumbled up stew meat, leftover sauce from the stew; leftover tomato pasta sauce; a few pitted olives wouldn’t hurt either and voila….a “new” sauce for penne!
Our good friend hates leftovers, period. We shared a house in Tuscany a few years ago. One night I made a tomato pasta sauce and there was a bit leftover. I secretly stashed it in fridge and didn’t let on! Two nights later, we barbequed something and we thought that crostini would be nice to have as an appetizer. I figured “what the hell” so pulled out the stashed leftover pasta sauce, grilled the bread, spooned on it some warmed up sauce; added a sprinkle of grated Pecorino topped off with a fresh basil leaf. HE LOVED THEM. Wanted to know how I had prepared them. So I had to fess up. He could not believe that the crostini were created from that leftover pasta sauce!
Soups are a cooks best friend, especially when one has all sorts of bits and pieces that have ended up in the freezer. So, when it’s time to make soup, I simply raid the freezer, sauté some onion, celery and carrot etc. add my bits & some stock. Funny thing is they are always good…guess it pays to make good things to start with!