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What can I add to leftover pasta to liven it up?

So I made a solid pasta sauce with paste, ground chicken, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, beef and chicken stock (parmagianno grated over). I made enough sauce for four boxes of pasta. But after two days and two boxes of pasta the family is bored. What can I through in to liven it up? I've thought of pitted olives and also possibly sauteed broccoli rabe. Any other suggestions?


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  1. So you have leftover sauce, not leftover pasta yes?

    I say if the family loved it, freeze the leftover sauce. Then you can love it again in month or two.

    2 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Seconded (thirded?)

        Your family is sick of it. Doctoring it up won't make them want to eat more pasta. Either use it as a sauce for a braised lamb shank or freeze it.

    1. No we have plenty of pasta (and rice even) leftover but want to make it more interesting after two days of the same thing. We are on a budget and have few alternatives.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chinon00

        >> I made enough sauce for four boxes of pasta. But after two days and two boxes of pasta the family is bored.

        It did sound like you got pasta sauce left, or did you and your family manage to finish all the four boxes of pasta's worth of sauce with the two boxes of pasta? :-) Do tell if you still have some of that sauce left, I am sure you will get some great ideas on how to liven and use up that sauce from this board.

        And to finish up the leftover cooked pasta, I agree with ipsedixit on making a cold salad out of it. Especially because your sauce sounds pretty rich, it would be nice to make something to balance out the heavy pasta dinners you have been having. Think tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint or whatever herbs you can find now, dressed with lemon or vinegar and olive oil, similar to a what you would do to make a tabouleh. I just happened to make something similar for lunch, using leftover brown rice and barley. Refreshing and delicious.

        1. re: Chinon00

          I guess I'm confused.

          Did you make the sauce and 4 boxes of pasta and mixed them all together right then?

          Or do you have the sauce separate from the pasta?

        2. Learn how to make frittatas - means adding beaten eggs to any leftovers, including vegetables and pasta mixed with sauce. Classic Italian way to stretch a budget - and made right, they're delicious. with a good salad you have a simple cheap and delicious meal.

          Google Paula Dean's Swiss steak recipe. It calls for cheap cube steaks simmered in tomato sauce with a little onion and green pepper and then served with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. I've made it a couple times and it's delicious - sure you could use some of your sauce to make it.

          1. Make some baked ziti with it. Stick it in a corning/pyrex dish with some mozzarella cheese sprinkled throughout. Add the things you came up with: olives/broccoli rabe. Your family will love it.

            1. Cold pasta salad?

              OR maybe try a Pasta 'N Cheese (a la Mac 'N Cheese).

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Cold pasta salad with onions, tomato,celery and tuna and a generous amount of Hellman's - childhood, picnic comfort food for me...

              2. You could do a pasta salad of some sort.

                Or you could make the pasta a side by adding olive oil, garlic and parsley or basil - I do this and also add in some chunks of tomato

                You could make a cream sauce and add some peas.

                We do 4tbs of butter add in the peas and then about an 8th of heavy cream bring to a boil, simmer until slightly thickened,

                then add the pasta to the peas and cream sauce, salt pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

                1. Make a roasted red pepper sauce and toss with pasta.

                  1 Red Pepper (roasted)
                  1 Chicken Breast
                  2 cups Heavy Cream
                  2/3 cup Parmesean Cheese shredded (you may need more or less cheese depending on how thick you like it)
                  1 tsp Garlic minced
                  1 Pinch Salt

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: boyzoma

                    I like to add pesto sauce to tomato sauce too. Maybe some ricotta. That would be a whole new dish. That said, I like to freeze leftovers before family gets sick of it, a few weeks later it's a whole new day.

                  2. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for the suggestions so far. To clarify things:
                    1) I made about eight cups of sauce.
                    2) I've boiled two boxes of pasta and tossed four cups of sauce into it so far.
                    3) I therefore have two boxes of pasta left (uncooked) and four cups of sauce remaining.
                    4) I planned to add broccoli rabe, olives, and lemon zest to the sauce and toss into the remaining pasta and am looking suggestions in a similar vein.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Chinon00

                      Then I stand by my original suggestion.

                      The pasta will keep for a looooooong time.

                      Freeze the sauce until you feel like eating it again.

                      1. re: Jennalynn

                        I just have to agree with you. What you're tired of today will make an easy (and "free") meal in a couple of weeks.

                      2. re: Chinon00

                        Freezing as Jennalynn said would be the best, but if you don't have freezer space, I'd add some mushrooms, olives, green and red peppers and maybe pick up some ground Italian sausage, brown it and add as well.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          The only thing I can think of besides freezing is is to make it into cincinati chili

                        2. Make a pasta bake - combine the sauce and some al dente pasta. Add some extra veggies (your broccoli rabe would work, or peas are good too especially on a budget). Mix in some ricotta. Pour it all into a baking dish and top with mozzarella. For a little crunch you could also add sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top. And if your family like spicy, zip the whole thing up with some crushed red pepper or even chopped pepperoni,