Monday, February 8, 2021

Freshen Up Leftover Pasta with Veggies

 So here's the scenario; meatballs and sausages plus a baked pasta dish.  While it's expected that they'll all be eaten together, that often isn't the case.  The meat items might be used to make a sandwich, or broken up and used to spruce up pizza.  However, you're now stuck with a half pan full of pasta, and while it has sauce and cheese with it, it's kind of boring as is.

Click on Baked Ziti and it will take you to the recipe for this hearty dish of pasta baked together with homemade pasta sauce and cheese.  Now what happens if you have a lot left over?  Better yet, what if you have someone over who is vegetarian?  Serve just salad as a side?  Boring again!  Now let's take that baked pasta and combine it with a homemade sauce chock full of veggies!

I had half a 3-quart baking dish of leftover baked rigatoni.  Nope, you don't have to use just ziti for the baked ziti recipe, any small tubular pasta will do, like rigatoni, penne and mostaccioli.  In a deep, large skillet, I heated up a fresh made veggie sauce, mixed in the leftover baked pasta, and let it continue cooking until all was hot and ready to be eaten.

Here's what I used...


3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 cup each of chopped (about 1/2 inch in size) green and red bell peppers

1 medium zucchini, chopped (same size as the peppers)

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes

2 cups pasta sauce

2 heaping Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. each dried, crushed basil and oregano

Leftover baked pasta (about 1 and 1/2 quarts or about 4 servings)


In a deep, large skillet, medium high heat, heat the olive oil, then add in the onion, bell peppers, zucchini and black pepper; let them cook for 15 minutes.

Next, add in the remaining ingredients: tomatoes, sauce, garlic and herbs; mix thoroughly and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally to keep from sticking and/or burning.

Last step, mix in the left over baked pasta; mix thoroughly, breaking up the pasta pieces that might be clumped together, and let cook 10 additional minutes.  Mix again before serving.

Doing all this, I was able to stretch it out to six servings; the taste, smell and texture was delicious all the way throughout.

With the addition of the vegetables, I made something mundane into something fabulous; and even a vegetarian would find it to be fabulous as well.

This recipe can be made if cooking up some fresh pasta as well.  Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and then add to the veggie sauce to cook together for that last 10 minutes before serving.  If someone doesn't like, or can't eat, cheese, it's not already in, so no worries.  However, you could always have a few of bowls of cheeses (shredded provolone, mozzarella and parmesan) on hand, so anyone wanting to add them, into their serving, can.

Now you don't have to wonder what to do with leftover pasta, just spruce it up with veggies!

Mary Cokenour