There's leftovers and then there's LEFTOVERS and with the current economic times, we all need to make good use of them. Unfortunately when someones says the word "leftovers" to me it brings back memories of Mother cleaning out the refrigerator and making a hash of all the little odds and sods left in the back. It was usually burnt, looked like something the cat dragged in and honestly Heinz didn't produce enough catsup to make it palatable in my book. The thought of it still gives me shivers.
The point I'm trying to make in a round about way is that while tough times call for tough measures, a little imagination can go along way in making something delicious out of the dregs in our freezers and cupboards.
That was the case last night when I discovered a container of leftover Italian meat sauce. Now I could have added another tin or so of tomato sauce to top our pasta and called it dinner, but I figured that would be kind of boring. Instead, I cooked up a pot of rigatoni and while that was burping on the stove, made a simple bechamel white sauce and loaded it up with grated romano cheese. Then I tossed the al dente drained pasta into the bechamel and topped it off with the meat sauce and the casserole hit the oven.
Twenty five minutes later dinner was on the table - hot tubes of pasta oozing creamy cheesy white sauce, covered in spicy tomatoey meat. It barely deserved to be called anything but delicious! Leftovers - surely you jest. MMMM
Baked Rigatoni with Béchamel and Italian Meat Sauce (a creation from JBug’s Kitchen)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until roux is slightly golden in color. Whisk in milk and seasonings and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in grated Romano cheese.
8 ounces rigatoni, cooked to al dente and well drained
Crushed dried chile peppers
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a casserole or gratin dish with cooking spray. Mix cooked pasta with béchamel and transfer to prepared casserole dish. Top with meat sauce. Sprinkle with crushed dried chile peppers. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until casserole is bubbling hot. Serves 4 to 6.
A year ago - Pecan Crusted Rack of Pork