When Life Gives You Leftovers

As a younger sibling to the Licorice Queen, I've been asked to contribute to this blog. I don't know too much about licorice, sadly but I like fennel-- does that count??? It's been a crazy week here in NYC and I'm really looking forward to a quiet evening with a M*A*S*H/ Repo Man double feature and some delicious... leftovers.

First, let me say that I hate leftovers. In fact, I save things mainly out of guilt and then throw them away at the science-experiment stage. So actual leftovers to me aren't really leftovers at all but leftover ingredients from other meals that can be used to make something new. Last weekend, for reasons I can't really explain, I decided to make a big batch of Lidia Bastianich's tomato sauce. I dutifully stirred the cauldron of bubbling red liquid and plopped it in a vat in the fridge, and then basically stared at it for most of the week. On Wednesday, I was headed to a late show at the Mercury Lounge and decided that baked ziti was in order, so I picked up some fresh ricotta and some Sullivan Street fresh mozzarella to assemble the ultimate comfort food. That dish only took care of about 2 cups of the sauce stockpile, though, and here is is Friday and the sauce has to be dealt with because it's too damn good to waste!

Which brings me to the plan itself. I have a delicious sauce, I have ricotta cheese, and I already made baked ziti. I thought about making pizzas tomorrow with friends but frankly it seems like a pain and I've never made pizza dough before. Then, it came to me. There was this restaurant in the West Village in New York City called 50 Carmine that sadly has since closed that made the most incredible gnocchi I have ever had in my life. I loved those gnocchi the way Heidi loves Spencer. They weren't the usual potato clunkers, but they were light and airy and browned just so with a little crust of breadcrumb on the outside. The restaurant served them with a traditional sausage/broccoli rabe sauce, and the dish was pure, perfect heaven. I finally figured out years later that the secret to the gnocchi was ricotta cheese, but I've never attempted to recreate the dumplings themselves, because really, would you attempt a reproduction of a great work of art??? (Seriously, look at the link, those pieces are SO AWFUL. Get thee to a museum!!!) Anyway tonight I will mix flour, eggs, and ricotta and hope for the best. I'm thinking of attempting an oven method instead of a boiling water method and tossing with just a few spoonfuls of the vat of sauce, but we'll see how it goes. After all, it's only leftovers.


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