I like to make a game out of leftover or partially used ingredients in my fridge and pantry.
Like, how can half a lemon, six ounces of chicken stock, and sour cream be repurposed into some sort of delectable savory sauce to brush over a lightly salted grilled chicken breast? Hmmm…
Or, maybe a handful of berries, a bruised pear, and a mostly used carton of half-n-half can be whipped into one of the best cobblers on the planet.
Not only is that “game” fun, it’s also practical. Like the companion piece to eating dinner leftovers at work the next day.
This week I stared into the refrigerator, puzzled about what to make for dinner. Mushrooms, fresh spinach, onions, chicken sausage…ricotta?
Ricotta: the cheese that’s relegated to lasagnas and stuffed shells.
Despite what you think’s a meager, one trick pony ingredient in the kitchen, ricotta is actually quite versatile! Aside from the obvious Italian recipe uses, fans of the creamy lower fat cheese also find it’s brilliant in things like cheesecake and pancakes.
Or pasta sauce.
- 8 ounces dried penne
- 1 package savory fully cooked chicken sausage (your favorite flavor)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
*The ricotta has a tendency to break in the sauce and look curdled. This doesn't affect the flavor, but it can look odd to some people. If the look of a broken sauce bothers you, wait until the last minute to stir it in — right before serving.