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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Surplus of Flavor

{Green Beans for the Salad Nicoise Platter}
Bulk shopping is a foreign concept to me. When I was growing up my mother never shopped that way. The first time I heard someone mention that they had purchased 25 bottles of ketchup because it was cheaper was a very odd moment. I understand it's cheaper but I won't go through 25 bottles of ketchup in my lifetime. In 2050, I might be on bottle 6. I do know people who are masters at the art of bulk shopping and I applaud their creativity and ingenuity. But for me, 9 times out of 10 I would end up wasting what I bought.

As an adult, I tend to gravitate towards recipes with fresh ingredients that have a life-span so when I'm cooking for a large number of people I always have left over ingredients that it would be criminal to throw away. Last week was oppressively hot and humid here in Virginia so I decided to go with a simple platter of Salad Nicoise for dinner with friends. You can find the recipe here. I took some of the left over ingredients and made a wonderful pasta dish for lunch the next day. Photos and recipes are below.

I would love to hear about the best leftover meal you ever made so be sure to drop a comment below.

Meal #1: 

Appetizer: Prosciutto-wrapped melon and purple cauliflower with Greek yogurt dip

Main Course: Salad Nicoise Platter

{Canned tuna gets a bad wrap. It was too hot to turn on the oven for tuna steaks so I tried this brand from Sustainable Seas}

{Thyme, Oregano, and Basil}

{I like a white with this meal}

{For apps I went for super-easy which meant no oven, prosciutto-wrapped melon and purple cauliflower with Greek yogurt dip}

{The finished platter which looks so pretty I almost felt guilty eating it....well almost}

Meal #2:

Penne Pasta with Prosciutto, Tomatoes, and Fresh Herbs

{Left-over prosciutto from last night's appetizer}

{Left-over tomatoes and herbs make a wonderfully rustic sauce for the pasta}

{I finished the dish off with some more fresh herbs}

Recipe: Penne Pasta with Prosciutto, Tomatoes, and Fresh Herbs


1 cup dried penne pasta cooked Al dente based on the package directions
2 slices of prosciutto
1 tomato
olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon butter
splash of white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
Reserved pasta water

How To:

Cook the penne Al dente based on the package directions in salted water. If you don't know what Al dente means or don't like your pasta that way, it's time to put on your big girl pants and grow up:). Mushy pasta is not cute. Pretend there's a hot Italian guy coming to dinner who would be mortified if you prepared it any other way.

While the penne is cooking saute the prosciutto for about a minute to soften and release some of the fat to flavor the rest of the dish. This is optional but I like doing it. Remove the prosciutto from the pan and reserve. Saute the tomatoes with a little olive, butter, and the herbs. I cooked the tomatoes for about 10 minutes and really let them condense. Add the wine and chicken stock in and cook another 5 minutes. This is the basis for your sauce. You can add salt and pepper to each layer of the dish to taste.

Throw the prosciutto and penne back in the saute pan and toss to coat the pasta. If the sauce is a little runny add the reserved pasta water to thicken. Sprinkle the dish with more fresh herbs and serve.

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