3 Savory Ways to Use Up That Last Bit of Pasta (and One Killer Dessert You Should Be Making, Anyway)

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

I have this funny little habit that just might just inch my Type A tendencies over the line into ridiculously over-the-top. You see, I weigh my dry pasta. Since I live in a household of two, I always find myself making half a pasta recipe, which means I need a half-pound of dry pasta. Because I can never seem to pour out exactly half the box, I’ve come to rely on measuring out eight ounces every single time. But you know what? Don’t be like me. Be better.

Go forth and be Type B and eyeball how much dry pasta you need. And if you’re left with just a little bit at the end of the box or bag that really isn’t enough for a full meal, embrace it. That odd amount can actually be turned into a multitude of delicious things. All it’s missing is just a little bit of inspiration.

1. Turn it into rice pilaf.

Remember Rice-a-Roni? Is that catchy jingle stuck in your head now? If you have just a little dry spaghetti on hand, even if it’s just the broken bits at the bottom of the bag, recreating the rice pilaf couldn’t be easier. And it’s a whole lot better for you than the boxed stuff.

Get the Recipe: Rice-Pasta Pilaf from Food Network

2. Cook it up and make a frittata.

Regardless of the shape, pasta is a great addition to an eggy frittata. Cook whatever amount of dry pasta you may be trying to get rid of and add it to the pan before pouring in the whisked eggs.

3. Add it to soup.

Even just a little bit of pasta can help bulk up that pot of soup and turn it into a meal. Toss in whatever shape you have on-hand — if it’s noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine, simply break them up before adding. It’s the fastest way to turn good soup into great soup.

4. Use it to make dessert.

One of my most favorite Indian desserts is payasam, which is also called kheer depending on the part of India you’re from. The milk-based pudding can be made with everything from rice to semolina, but to me, the version made with vermicelli noodles trumps all. While most recipes call for Indian vermicelli, which is extra-thin, angel hair pasta is an easy substitute. So if you have some leftover in the box after making dinner, use it to try what just might be your new favorite dessert.

Get the Recipe: Sevaya Kheer (Vermicelli Milk Pudding) from Saveur