Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dress Up & Reheat Leftover Cream Sauce Pasta

This post is for you, Courtney, it took me awhile to get the photos I needed to illustrate the process, but here you go at last!

Pasta with creamy sauce usually does not reheat very well. An Alfredo that was wonderful last night, turns into a separated, curdled mess when you reheat it in the microwave. Here I'll explain how to reheat it so that it comes out as good (or better) than when it was first made. I usually take the re-heating opportunity to improve or add to a pasta dish. Even when I don't add veggies, I do usually add some garlic to add more flavor, but if you just want to re-heat pick up the instructions at Setp 3.

This morning I was not in the mood for breakfast... all I could think about was the nice creamy Chicken Alfredo leftover from last night. I decided to have pasta for breakfast, but as is often the case, there was not really very much pasta leftover and I love veggies in my pasta. So I determined to stretch my pasta a bit by adding some veggies... once I got to cooking, Robert wanted to know what I was cooking & asked for some (he had surgery yesterday and is currently convalescing in the recliner upstairs) this gave me more pasta to work with (his leftovers from last night too) but I would have used double the amount of veggies if I had known I was cooking for 2 from the get go. I also love garlic, I seldom miss an opportunity to add garlic to a dish, I generally increase the garlic in a recipe by 1 or 2 cloves.
A quick note about green peas. I love them in pasta, but if you're going to add peas... take the chill off 1/2- 1 cup in the microwave, and toss them into the pan right before serving, this will keep them plump & round rather than wrinkly.

What to do with Creamy Pasta Leftovers
Here is what I started with Chicken Alfredo with Penne, cold and leftover from Jason's Deli the night before.
(click photos for larger view)

1) I sauteed diced zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil (use any veggie you like or have on hand.) Salt the veggies when they are soft. I use a 10-inch non-stick skillet, the same one I'd use for a large batch of eggs. The shallow shape & gently sloping sides are great for tossing the pasta around in the pan to get it hot thru.

2) When veggies are cooked, I add 2 cloves of garlic, pressed into the pan with a garlic press. Saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
3) Add cold pasta to the pan. If you are starting with this step, heat the pan with a small amount of olive oil or butter before adding the pasta & saute until the pasta is warm.
4) then add a small amount of cream (yes cream! I experimented with chicken broth but it makes the pasta limp and soggy & the sauce watery. Cream is preferred as it will thicken as it cooks, if you don't have cream use half-and-half, or milk, but very sparingly as they won't thicken as they cook the way cream will. I heated the cream in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup, you don't have to, but taking the chill off will make the dish come together quicker in the pan.
5) Let things bubble in the pan, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken.
6) Remove from heat, you can mix in some Parmesan or Romano cheese at this point if you have some.


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