We share recipes from our chefs that embrace leftovers
As well as being better for both your hip pocket and the environment, repurposing last night’s leftovers can result in quick, creative meals that are even more satisfying than the one you originally made.
From simply tossing leftovers through pasta to creating brand new dishes out of scraps, three of our chefs share their favourite ways to use up leftovers.
Daniel Fox – Chef de Cuisine – Casual Dining, Harvest Buffet, Food Quarter, Mei Wei and M&G Cafe
Daniel Fox, chef at Harvest Buffet, Food Quarter, Mei Wei and M&G Ca, loves turning leftover roast chicken into a chicken macaroni and cheese.
“It tastes so luxurious with the rich chicken gravy and gooey cheese,” he says. “You can also add other leftovers to it such as roast vegetables to make a complete meal.
“It’s super quick to throw together so it’s great for an easy Monday night dinner,” he adds.
Dayan Hartill-Law – Chef de Cuisine – Cucino Vivo
Instead of coming up with ways to use up leftovers, Cucino Vivo chef Dayan Hartill-Law considers ways to utilise the whole ingredient before he even starts cooking. “For example, we’re trialling an idea at the restaurant at the moment where we dehydrate vegetable skins that would normally end up in the compost and then break them up to create natural ‘Hundreds & Thousands’,” he says.
Similarly, instead of throwing spent potato skins in the bin, Hartill-Law dehydrates them overnight before deep-frying them, seasoning them with smoked salt and filling them with crème fraiche, crispy fried speck and finely sliced shallot greens to create the ultimate staff snack.
“Now, the day after gnocchi day has become everyone’s favourite day,” he says.
Chris Mcleay – Chef de Cuisine – Garden Kitchen & Bar
Unlike his Star compatriots, Garden Kitchen & Bar’s chef Chris Mcleay hates leftovers and usually won’t eat them. “It is a constant headache for my partner,” he jokes, “especially because as a chef I usually cook enough for 10 people.”
When he can be convinced, he finds the best way to use up almost anything is to turn it into a pasta bake, which his son loves. His only watch-out is to be careful of over-seasoning, as it’s likely the original dish has been sufficiently seasoned already. “Always taste as you go along,” he says. He shares his recipe below.
Mcleay’s Leftover Pasta Bake
- Penne pasta
- Bolognaise sauce
- Fresh herbs, chopped
- Ham, sliced
- Leftover roast vegetables, chopped
- Cheddar cheese, diced
- Parmesan, grated
- Onions, diced and sautéed
- Bechamel sauce
- Literally anything else you have on hand
- Mix the ingredients together (except for the parmesan and half the cheddar cheese) in a large baking dish. Top with the parmesan and remaining chunks of cheddar.
- Place in the oven at 180oC and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes.
- Allow to stand for 5 mins before cutting.
- Serve with a drizzle of tomato sauce.