Baked Orecchiette

Frequent cooking at home typically yields a variety of odds and ends in the fridge: a handful of mushrooms, a small piece of cheese, a few herbs, a cup of sauce. For us, ingredients like these usually wind up in a frittata or a pasta. Such was the case the other night when, while cleaning out the fridge, I found some uncooked tomato sauce and a three-ounce piece of mozzarella left over from making a pizza a few days before.

An open box of pasta, with a few ounces of orecchiette, came to the rescue. After putting up the pasta to cook, I heated up the sauce, just a tad, tore the mozzarella into small chunks, and grated some Parmigiano. I used a few tablespoons of the sauce to coat the bottoms of two oven-proof gratin dishes. When the pasta was cooked a few minutes before al dente, I drained and tossed it into the sauce. I then stirred most of the mozzarella and the grated cheese into the pasta, transferred it to the gratin dishes, topped it with the remaining mozzarella, and drizzled with a little olive oil. The dishes went into a preheated 350°F oven for about twenty minutes. Dinner!

Would love to hear what you do when you find those bits and pieces of ingredients left over from recipes in your fridge.

4 thoughts on “Musing: Cleaning out the Fridge

  1. Tom and I seem to be incapable of making only enough of a dish for the two of us, so our refrigerator often contains many little plastic containers. Some of them make unconventional lunches for me. Even better, many of them wind up in Tom’s big soup scrap bag, which he keeps in the freezer and fills with meat and poultry bones, raw vegetable ends (big green leek leaves are ideal), leftover sauces, etc., for making excellent broth, which we freeze in pints and use in in myriad ways.

  2. Our latest cleanout used some leftover San Marzano tomatoes that had been blended for pizza sauce, leftover Persian-ish Rice (from Salt Fat Acid Heat), a previously unused chicken breast (cubed), and a bit of taco seasoning. It was a shame to mask the subtle flavor of the rice, but the result was very nice.

    1. Sounds like an intelligent and tasteful repurposing of leftovers. I think Salt Fat Acid Heat is one of the best food shows I’ve seen in a long time.

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