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What to do with leftover pasta | Waste Not

How to repurpose excess cooked pasta in salads, frittata or this enterprising leftover spaghetti ‘lasagne’

What to do with leftover pasta | Waste Not
Tom Hunt’s leftover spaghetti lasagne. Photograph: Tom Hunt/The Guardian

A portion of pasta is hard to quantify without scales, hence the invention of the spaghetti measurer, an instrument that measures it by the circumference of the bunch (you can also measure one portion in the neck of a small plastic water bottle). If you’re weighing out dried pasta, allow 75-100g a portion. I’m a lover of leftovers, so rarely weigh my pasta, and often cook extra deliberately to eat the next day.

If you have excess cooked pasta that the kids refused to eat or because you simply made too much, toss it with a little olive oil and refrigerate in a sealed container. It can then be reheated in sauce, stir-fried like noodles or eaten cold in salad. For brunch, try a spaghetti frittata: crack two eggs into a bowl of cold spaghetti, season and tip into a medium-hot, oiled pan. Cook until the egg is set on the bottom, flip, brown on the other side and eat dusted with paprika. Or, for dinner, try a comforting leftover spaghetti lasagne.

Vegetarian leftover spaghetti lasagne

This is a great way to upcycle a little pasta into a comforting meal for two. For maximum flavour, bake it until it’s nice and bubbly, and golden brown on top. Serve with some simply dressed bitter leaves. Serves two.

1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
200g passata
1 tsp dried oregano
200g cooked spaghetti
(ie, from about 100g dried), or other pasta
30g butter
30g wholemeal flour
200ml milk
40g cheese
, grated, plus 20g extra for the topping

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/gas 9. Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms for 10 minutes, or until browned, then add the passata and dried oregano and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and transfer everything to a suitable casserole dish.

Now make a white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stir in the flour and cook for a minute.

Whisk in the milk and leave to simmer, stirring continuously, for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Add the grated cheese, stir and season well, then pour over the spaghetti and top with more grated cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling on top.

Topic: #pasta
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