Is your fridge packed with Christmas leftovers? Luigi Bianchi, founder at SportsTribe, shares five clever and tasty tips on how not to waste that delicious food. Read on below.
When it comes to using leftovers there is no better chef than grandmothers. What she did with all those dinner and lunch leftovers is a miracle. My grandmother saved my family tons of money and filled our stomachs with delicious leftover meals. Meals prepared from leftovers are never the same. It depends on the quantity left, the time of the year…
So there is no use in sharing recipes. Instead I would like to share my leftovers cooking ‘guidelines’ that I learned from spending hours in my grandmother’s and mother’s kitchens in Italy. In my family, there was no such thing as throwing away leftovers, not after Christmas, nor at any time of the year.
Mix your meat or vegetable leftovers (if you have both you can combine them) in a grinder. You can also add some grated cheese if you have some. Use your hands to roll into balls from the mixture. If the mixture is too moist or sticky you can add some bread crumbs, flour, or grated cheese. If the mixture is too firm you can add eggs, cream cheese, or some leftover sauce until it is pliable.
Always add ingredients little by little to ensure correct proportions. Roll the balls in some flour or bread crumbs to give them a nice crusty outer layer. Fry them in a pan with some oil or bake them in the oven, turning halfway, so they brown evenly. Serve with some leftover sauces and add pasta or rice. Delicious!
Pasta al forno
For this dish you can use every kind of leftover from meat to fish to any kind of veggies. Fry your leftovers in some oil or butter to make them nicely crunchy. Add some liquid to the pan: this could be tomato puree or any leftover sauce, béchamel, milk, cooking cream or even cream cheese, and add some water.
Cook some short pasta, like penne (so no linguine or spaghetti) until it is al dente then rinse with water. Add the pasta to the other ingredients in the pan. Do not make it too dry. Take an oven bowl and fill it with one third of the pasta, cover with grated cheese and repeat with the other two thirds. The last layer must be of grated cheese. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees till the cheese is golden and crunchy. Fantastic!
Pate is very easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Use your meat or vegetable leftover and mix in a blender until smooth. Combine with some mascarpone cheese or other cream cheese, add salt and spices to taste and your pate is ready. Keep it refrigerated and enjoy!
Soups are the easiest way to use your leftovers. Add your meat or vegetable leftovers in a cooking pan and add water. Purée with a blender into a creamy soup. You can also leave the veggies or meat in chunks. We call this minestrone. If you have some leftover bread, rub it with some garlic and warm it in the oven with some oil and spices and grated cheese until crunchy and golden. Serve with the soup or minestrone.
Everybody likes fritatta, from children to grandparents. Take your leftover (no matter what kind, even bread or raw salad) and fry them on medium to high heat in butter or your preferred oil. In the meantime stir some eggs (think of 2-3 eggs per person but if you do not have enough eggs you can add some milk or cream cheese) then add some salt and pepper and grated cheese.
Cover the ingredients in the pan with the egg mixture and cook on medium low heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook until the upper layer of the frittata is slightly cooked. Now flip the frittata. To do this you can use the lid. Just press the lid against the pan and turn it with a quick move. Now the frittata is on your lid. Let it gently slide into the pan and there you go! Cook a few more minutes and enjoy her majesty the frittata.
“Enjoy your food and start making delicious meals with leftovers adding to a no-food-waste mentality” – Luigi Bianchi, founder at SportsTribe