Giada De Laurentiis Shares Her Mom’s Best Tip for Using Up Leftovers

published May 11, 2018
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(Image credit: Courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis)

Many of us get our first cooking lessons at home. People who grow up to work in restaurants or attend culinary school or become world-famous chefs usually pick up a few tricks at home before they go (even if it’s just the proper way to cut a peanut butter sandwich).

Even celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis learned some tricks she still uses from her mother, actress and writer Veronica De Laurentiis. And she says her mother’s best cooking lesson was to always be resourceful with leftovers.

“She had a lot of mouths to feed between my siblings and I, so no food went wasted,” Giada said in an interview with Today Food.

Giada’s mother’s solution for leftover pasta was a dish she calls “pasta pizza,” and it’s basically cooked pasta tossed with meat, vegetables, or any other sort of leftovers, then mixed with beaten eggs and Parmesan cheese. The whole thing is pressed into a hot pan and cooked into a big, round cake. Then you just cut it into wedges and eat it like a pizza.

Get the recipe: Pasta Pizza from Giadzy

“You can use any combination of cooked pasta, vegetables, and cheese that you have on hand, making it a real lifesaver for any busy mom,” Giada said.

This is a pretty great idea. The recipe on Giada’s site makes it with cooked spaghetti; some kind of diced meat like salami, prosciutto, or ham; and a vegetable like peas, edamame, or broccoli. But really, the benefit of the dish is that it can use up anything leftover in the refrigerator.

Right now my refrigerator is full of lemon spaghetti, roasted peppers, and olives that need to be eaten before the weekend. I was just going to put them in the microwave or dole them out over a few lunches, but Giada’s mom’s recipe sounds like it might be a lot more fun.

What’s your favorite way to eat leftovers?