“Loving the Leftovers” … that is a category I added to my posts because ” l’arte del riciclo “, which translates into English as the art of using leftovers, is all about creating a FRESH dish using the remains of a previous meal. I think Italian food lends itself to this technique for reasons best sought in its history and tradition (If there were any leftovers to be had, people were so poor they wouldn’t dream of letting them go to waste, let alone throw them away). The bilinguist in me chuckles at the semantic difference ascribed to the root word “re-cycle”. In English it is about rubbish (garbage to the Americans), i.e. how to make use of what is deemed disgusting; whereas in Italian it is about creating something delicious to eat !
I am not sure that my ‘riciclo’ last night was smack-your-lips delicious; it engendered more of the head-nodding, quietly approving, savouring sort of appreciation. It’s because I have had quite the stressful week this past week and even my autopilot brain was showing signs of flagging. I was flummoxed almost to the point of tears by the predicament of a fridge full of containers that on other occasions would have been a very stimulating sight to behold. My heart felt heavy at the thought of ‘recycling’ it … euphemism for you know what. Thus it was that I resorted to that most useful of decision-making fillips: Eeny Meeny Miny Mo. And here is the ‘riciclo’ result. Take a look … I leave it to you to decide whether it was a Mac n’ Cheese, or a Cauliflower Cheese with a twist !
1. I had simmered a cauliflower in some milk, with an onion, a bay leaf, and some nutmeg. I had then puréed it.
2. I had made a carbonara using egg pasta — I had made far too much and the remains were stored in the fridge.
3. I had some sausages that my in-laws had brought for us from the Marche.
4. I had some grated parmesan cheese in the fridge too. Breadcrumbs. Butter.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The cauliflower puré … Smother the pasta and sausage with the puré …. Let it snow parmesan cheese over the surface …. Camouflage it all with plenty of breadcrumbs and scattered hillocks of butter … Pop it into a previously heated oven: 200°C … for about half an hour … and up to 40 minutes (it will depend on the oven. Ovens have a mind of their own, and each one will have its idiosyncratic quirky way with you). Fresh out of the oven ! I made these sweet-and-sour onionettes as an accompaniment to the rest of the dinner … in the event, they paired beautifully with the leftovers. Ha! go figure …
Whatever would we do without ovens, eh?
Wishing you all a very happy weekend …