When you’re making something with veggies, sometimes it’s fun to chop them into little cubes — I mean really little cubes — and then toss them into just about anything. After a stir-fry, I had leftover zucchini and onions neatly cut into tiny pieces. And because I sometimes don’t like the texture when zucchini is sliced into those round circles and sautéed, I thought I might enjoy the veggie more if it were in a cute little cube. I was right.
I figured I could just cook a few odds and ends together in butter, olive oil, and garlic, and we’d like it just as well as looking up a recipe online or in one of my cookbooks. So in another attempt to use what I already had without making another trip to the store, I sliced some mushrooms I found in the fridge and put them in a frying pan with a little olive oil and a little butter. I let them cook for a while, emitting those wonderful mushroom juices, and then I added chopped garlic and onion. I let that simmer a bit, and then threw the rest of my cute zucchini cubes in last.
We could’ve just had the sautéed veggies as a side dish, but I decided to cook a box of gluten-free pasta so I had a nice bed to lay them on. And I’ll be brutally honest, I also had a jar of Rao’s homemade Alfredo sauce, and I mixed it into the cooked pasta. To serve it up, I plated the pasta and scooped some of the mushroom-zucchini mixture on top. What we were left with was a delicious dish that combined my leftovers with the Alfredo pasta. I topped it with Parmesan cheese, and everybody went back for seconds.
My mentor (although he’s not aware of it), Jacques Pépin, is a huge proponent of using leftovers to make something tasty for dinner. I feel strongly that he would approve of this one. He might even allow a little jarred sauce in a pinch.