Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Further Adventures with Twice-Cooked Foods

Today’s lunch had its roots back in three different meals from the long weekend with the boys. At their request, I grilled burgers for dinner on the fourth, but one of my grilling rules (maybe my only one) is never to grill just one item, so I also threw on some marinated chicken breasts that I planned to include in Saturday’s panini. As it turned out, we didn’t eat all of the chicken during that meal, so I had some leftovers. Then Sunday night, we had spaghetti at R’s request, traditional American red sauce over pasta, but again there was plenty of leftover pasta.

Going through the fridge, I came across these items, as well as a few others, and started to envision a dish made in part of leftovers that would also be elegant and flavorful enough to serve to guests. I first read about fried pasta in John Thorne’s Outlaw Cook a number of years ago, and his enthusiasm, the simplicity of the meal, and the ingredients (olive oil, garlic, and leftover spaghetti) appealed to me immediately. My plan here was to use that modest combination as a base, and try something a little more complex.

I started by dicing and frying some pancetta. After setting that aside, I sautéed onions and then garlic in olive oil. Once those were lightly browned, I added more olive oil, and placed the leftover pasta—angel hair in this case—in the pan, turning it every so often, so that the edges became golden and crispy. When this was about halfway done, I added the chopped chicken from the fridge, the pancetta, and some capers. Once everything was cooked, the dish was topped with parmesan, toasted slivered almonds, fresh parsley, and a touch of lemon.

See Also: Previous Adventures with Twice-Cooked Food

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