Sensational Leftover Makeover with just 4 ingredients….I wish I could hand deliver freshly made ones to you so you can see how good they are! These can be made with any type of leftover pasta.
Is it just me who always has leftover pasta? It seems impossible to make just enough. I seem to be able to manage it with many other things. But I always make too much pasta!
I once read an article about how everything tastes better when it’s eaten the next day. There was all this science behind the logic. I have to say, I don’t care what the science is, there are some things that simply do not taste as good the next day.
Like fish. Stir fries. And noodle soups. Somethings are just meant to be eaten fresh off the stove. And pasta is right at the top of that list. There is a very good reason why Italian mama’s holler for their family to be seated at the dining table, ready to tuck into pasta the minute it comes off the stove. It’s because after 15 minutes, it just isn’t as good.
All the great chefs of the world will tell you that. Lidia Bastianich has been preaching this for decades, and finally the world is listening.
The reason is simple – pasta continues to absorb liquid after it comes off the stove so it becomes soft and squishy, rather than al dente. And the liquid in the sauce gets sucked into the pasta, leaving a dry coating of what was once a luscious rich sauce on the spaghetti.
So what to do with all that leftover pasta? Turn it into these absolutely scrumptious fritters. Look at them! Look at that crunchy brown crust…..oooohhhh…..I just couldn’t stop eating these….I ate way too many of these!
The beauty of these is that you can make them with any type of pasta – bolognaise, alfredo, cabonara, creamy tomato, macaroni, penne/ziti, shells, fettucine. For the photos, I made this using leftover Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Spaghetti.
All the flavour of your delicious pasta is packed into these fritters and ramped up with some cheese (optional) and fried until crisp. The brown crunchy crust is the best!!
These also freeze really well. I pop them in the oven to reheat them so I get the crunchy crust again.
You can also make giant ones of these, which is what I do if I have a lot of leftover pasta. Fry it up into one big fritter, then cut it up into slices. But I didn’t quite have enough for a giant fritter today so I made little ones.
So – have I got you more excited about having leftovers for dinner tonight? 😉 – Nagi
- 3 cups (packed) cold leftover pasta (sauce and pasta mixed together), packed (Note 1)
- 2 eggs
- ¾ to 1¼ cups breadcrumbs (I used panko breadcrumbs)
- ½ cup grated cheese (optional) (Note 2)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Roughy chop the pasta (I placed the pasta in a bowl and cut it with scissors).
- Add the eggs, breadcrumbs (start with ¾ cup) and cheese. Mix and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop up a ball and flatten it slightly to test if it holds together ok. If required, add more panko. (Note 3)
- Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium high heat.
- Scoop up a level ⅓ cup of the mixture (packed well) and place in the fry pan (tap the bottom of the cup to get the mixture to drop out into the pan). Use the bottom of the cup measure to pat the mixture into 1 cm / 2/5" thickness. Repeat to make however many fritters you can fit in the pan.
- Cook the first side for around 2 minutes or until it turns a dark brown and crispy. Turn, then cook the other side until crispy (around 1 to 1½ minutes).
- Remove from the pan onto a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with finely chopped parsley leaves and freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.
If you want to make this with fresh pasta, increase the egg to 1 egg per cup of pasta and add at least 50% more panko (extra binding).
2. You can use cheddar, tasty, gruyere, or any other melting cheese of choice. If you want to use Parmesan cheese, reduce it to ⅓ cup (as the flavour and salt is sharper than other cheeses).
3. Use the panko to control how well the mixture holds together. Different pastas have different levels of wetness. You just need the mixture to be sticky enough to hold together. The ragu I used was quite saucy so I needed 1¼ cups of panko breadcrumbs.
4. These freeze very well - let them cool, place in an airtight container then freeze. Reheat from frozen in the oven (or thaw and reheat). I recommend using the oven so they crisp up. :)
The nutrition for this is difficult to provide because it depends on what type of leftover pasta you are using. This is an estimation of the nutrition assuming you use leftover spaghetti bolognaise.