Leftovers seem to get a bad wrap. Sure if something is awful to begin with, I wouldn’t recommend forcing yourself to eat it for a second or third time. But if it’s good, why can’t it be good twice? After making bolognese the other night, I had leftover sauce but no pasta. I was too lazy to boil some more pasta (and I didn’t really feel like having the exact same meal again) so I improvised. All it took was some veggies (mushrooms, kale and tomatoes) to make a completely new and refreshed dish. I created a stuffed mushroom of sorts, sitting on a bed of hearty greens. Top it all off with blue cheese and it’s even better! However, some would argue that this actually makes it worse – if you belong to this category, just omit it.
– 1/2 cup of leftover bolognese sauce (you don’t have to be strict about this, you could use crumbled Italian sausage, pulled pork, chunks of chicken breast, taco filling, there are no limits!)
– 2 mini portabello mushrooms (I had never seen this size before so if you can’t find them, use one regular portabello or 3-4 stuffer mushrooms)
– 7 to 8 cherry tomatoes
– 1 to 2 cups of kale, roughly chopped (again, I was lazy and ripped it into pieces instead)
– balsamic vinegar, to taste
– chicken stock, as needed
– blue cheese, to taste (you could also substitute for shredded sharp cheddar, or gruyere)
– salt and pepper to taste
This could not be simpler. Pull the stems off of the mushrooms. Toss the shrooms and the tomatoes with salt, pepper and enough balsamic to lightly coat the veg. Pop them in the oven to roast at 375-400 F. I just put them on a pie plate but any vessel would work (cookie sheet, pyrex, I would stay away from plastic though). Once the mushrooms start to shrink up (this will take maybe 15 minutes) take the dish out of the oven. Top with bolognese and cheese (if you are using it). Put everything back in the oven, allowing it to heat through and the cheese to melt. Meanwhile cook your kale in a pan over medium heat with a splash of balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chicken stock (if it starts to get dry). Turn the heat down to low and let it all hang out (the kale!!! I am talking about the KALE!!!). In less than 20 minutes you should be more than capable of plating and getting the food on the table! Enjoy!!!
*Just as a sidenote, I may have gone a bit overkill on the balsamic vinegar (especially if you are using an aged, rich variety like I did). When it reduces down it becauses deliciously sticky and sweet, however that’s not the only thing you want to taste. So either you really have to balance it out with the salt, or for the kale, choose a different ingredient to provide acidity. Any sort of citrus would work well, red or white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar.