Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bolognese Part Two; Gourmet American Chop Suey

As promised, I'm going to tell you what to do with the leftovers of that delicious pot of bolognese that you spent all day making over the weekend. Spending a lot of time when you have it is a great way to ensure that you can still eat great when time is tight, like on a busy week night. The first way I used my bolognese leftovers was to make a casserole that ended up being very comparable to american chop suey. You aren't going to believe how quick and easy this one is.

To make the chop suey:

Begin by coarsely chopping 1 large onion and 3 cubanelle peppers. I really like the cubanelles because they're not hot but they're not really sweet either. You can easily use bell peppers in this recipe, or if you like it spicy, you can use a couple of jalapenos or anaheim chiles with your other peppers. Saute the onion and peppers in a skillet with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as they saute. You are going to take them off the heat when the onions are translucent and the peppers look soft.

While the vegetables saute, set a pot of water to boil and cook one pound of the pasta of your choice. I really favor rotini in an application like this because the shape of it makes the sauce stick to it, but anything you like will work. Elbows are more of a classic choice here.

Combine the cooked pasta and the cooked vegetables in a large bowl and add at least three cups of your leftover bolognese sauce. You are probably going to want to add more sauce, but three cups is a good jumping off point. Mix well, making sure everything is fully covered. Pour the entire contents of the bowl into a baking dish and bake at 350 for about ten minutes. Keep in mind that everything is already cooked so it really doesn't need that much time in the oven, and the longer you bake it the more you risk drying it out.

Voila! After just about fifteen minutes of prep time and ten minutes of bake time, you have a chop suey that tastes like it took much longer. The rich flavor of the bolognese sauce shares the stage with the earthy flavor of the peppers in this dish. Even though you are using something you just ate for dinner the other night, the peppers really make it taste like an entirely different dinner.

Up next, and I'm sure any of my regular followers saw this one coming . . . how to use your bolognese leftovers with bacon to put a very interesting twist on a comfort food classic.

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