Leftovers Pasta

Until only about three years ago, I lived in what is arguably one of the most Italian areas in South Australia. It should therefore come as a surprise to no-one that pasta is as much an essential, non-negotiable part of my diet as peas, carrots, and schnitzel.

So therefore, when faced with leftover chevapchichis and roast vegetables, it doesn’t take all that much thinking to work out what I’m going to do with them.

(I could make pasties. Of course I could. But pastry is a lot more difficult to make than pasta, and it involves lard, which isn’t something I have commonly sitting around the kitchen. Not to mention pasta is just a lot more satisfying to eat.)

IMGP1494Here’s the table, all set up for pasta-making. I have flour, water, egg, olive oil, a box of leftover meat and veggies, and a book with the recipe in it.

IMGP1495I don’t really need the recipe, but it’s nice to have it, anyway. This is from John Seymour’s “Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency”, which belonged to my grandparents. I quite like the book, because once you get past the pencil sketches in greys and browns and the slightly odd phrasing, it’s quite a useful book. A modern “self-sufficiency” book will encourage you to grow strawberries in a pot on your balcony, and if you’re really lucky, you might learn how to do decoupage. John Seymour’s book basically chronicles everything your average 18th-century English farmer would have known. If you actually did everything in the book, which would be almost impossible, you really would be completely self-sufficient.

Anyway, the first step, after making sure you’ve got a clean flat space to work, is to dump a whole lot of flour on said clean flat space, make a hole in the top, and crack an egg into it.

IMGP1496Mix the egg and flour with your fingertips. Be sure to squish the yolk so that it breaks early on.

IMGP1497Once the egg is mixed in as well as you can, repeat the process, but with a little olive oil this time, rather than an egg. Alternate adding a little oil and a little water until the dough actually sticks together in a ball.

IMGP1498

IMGP1500At this point, you should start chopping up whatever it is you plan to put in your pasta – if you’re making ravioli or tortellini – and then start rolling it out.

IMGP1501The rolling it out is the hardest part. It takes a lot of strength and persistence and now my forearms hurt. We do have a hand-cranked pasta-squishing machine, but I couldn’t find it, so I used a rolling pin.

IMGP1502Next, you need to place your filling at regular spaces. Leave a finger-width or so between each filling, and only cover half of the dough. Above, you can see little bits of chevapchichi and roast carrot.

IMGP1503Fold the pastry over, and press down between the bits of stuff inside.

IMGP1504Then use a good knife to cut around the bits. It’s easier if you’ve laid them out in lines. You will need to squish around the edges of each bit of pasta. If it doesn’t stick, dab a little water along the inside of the tortellini.

IMGP1505After everything’s wrapped and chopped up, put it on a tray in the sun. For spaghetti, hang it over a clothes horse. As you can see, the little edge bits of pasta that couldn’t be made into tortellini were cut into strips.

After making this much pasta, there was still a ridiculous amount of chevapchichi and vegetables left – you really don’t need all that much filling to make tortellini – so I decided to make sauce, as well.

IMGP1507The first thing you need is obviously tomatoes – the base ingredient of pretty much all pasta sauce. Since it’s not tomato season, I’m making do with cheap Italian imports.

IMGP1508The pomodori pelati are basically just large tomatoes (Romas) swimming in their own juice.

IMGP1509I attacked them with a masher. It’s probably simpler to just use a can of diced tomatoes.

IMGP1510I then added tomato paste.

IMGP1511And mixed them together.

That would probably work as a pasta sauce, but it’s sort of boring.

IMGP1512My next step was to absolutely mince the living daylights out of the remaining chevapchichis.

IMGP1513And add them to the sauce.

IMGP1514And the onions.

IMGP1515

IMGP1516And the carrots and sweet potato.

IMGP1517

IMGP1518And mix it all together. And that’s pretty much pasta sauce. All that’s left is to heat it up.

At this juncture, I will just mention that when working with tomatoes, it’s a good idea to either not wear white, or to wear an apron.

IMGP1519I didn’t do either. Oops.

IMGP1521Anyway, all that’s left is to cook the pasta – just like normal pasta from the shop.

IMGP1523By that, I mean; cover with water, and boil until satisfied with the texture. You may like your pasta al dente. I personally don’t.

IMGP1522You also need to start heating up the pasta sauce. Since all of my ingredients had previously been cooked, heating up was all that really needed doing. I also added corn, which you can see here – the little yellow bits.

IMGP1525IMGP1526Then drain the pasta and serve.

IMGP1527With cheese.

IMGP1528There you have it: pasta that any Italian nonna of my old neighbourhood could be proud of, almost entirely made out of leftovers.

IMGP1531In this half-eaten bit of pasta, you can clearly see the carrot and the chevapchichi.

All in all, a pretty yummy way of using up leftover food.

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One thought on “Leftovers Pasta

  1. […] can read some of my past cooking adventures here: fried rice, spaghetti bolognaise, apricot chicken, leftovers pasta, and “sausage […]

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