When you think of holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, I think food is the first or second thing to come to mind for most people. It could be a specific traditional meal or just thoughts of indulging on many delicious dishes (no judgement here). Generally, a lot of food is on the menu and with it, comes leftovers. When you are living gluten-free on a budget (or even if you are not gluten-free), you learn to get creative with using those leftovers. Yes, hot turkey or ham sandwiches are an easy option, but how about making the best gluten-free creamy pasta recipe with those leftovers? It will leave you thinking sandwich, who?
Keep in mind, that this recipe can be made with any leftover protein like ham, chicken, turkey, or even a plant-based protein. Or you can skip the protein and just make it all about the veggies which can also be substituted to suit your palate or what you have on hand. Check out our 10 tips to cooking the perfect gluten-free pasta if you struggle with getting it just right.
Gluten-Free Creamy Pasta Recipe Made with Leftovers
- 1 package (approximately 400g) gluten-free pasta of your choice.
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3-4 cups chopped ham (or turkey, or chicken, or meat substitute)
- 2 cup frozen peas
- 4 Tbsp. corn starch
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup grated aged white cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- Parmesan (optional)
- Dice onion and set aside.
- Mince shallot and set aside.
- Chop ham and set aside.
- Grate aged cheddar cheese and set aside.
- Put pot of salted water on stove and bring to a boil.
- While water is coming to a boil, get a separate pot and melt butter.
- Once butter is melted, cook onion and shallots until tender.
- Put ham (or protein) in with the onion and shallot mixture and heat through.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk corn starch and milk together and add to the ham mixture. On medium low, heat the milk through until it starts to thicken. Stirring constantly.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water. We recommend slightly undercooking your pasta at this stage. You want it just slightly firmer than you would usually enjoy.
- Once the milk mixture has thickened add in the frozen peas and stir. Allow to cook for two minutes then add in aged cheese. Allow the cheese to melt and mix well.
- Add in salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a measuring cup scoop out 1-2 cups of pasta water and set aside.
- Drain pasta and add it to the creamy sauce mixture.
- Toss pasta with the sauce allowing the pasta to finish cooking for a minute or two so it can adsorb and incorporate into the sauce.
- Top with extra grated cheddar or optional Parmesan cheese and serve.
- If your pasta sauce gets too thick after it has sat, add in a little of your heated reserved pasta water to thin it out without adding more milk. If you have leftovers, add some pasta water to the pasta before putting it away. This will prevent the dish from being dry when you reheat it. Only use as much pasta water as you you need. There is no need to use all that you have set aside.
- When it comes to gluten-free pasta, I prefer Rummo, Catelli or Tinkyada but you can use whichever brand you prefer. You can use long or short pasta depending on what you have on hand too. I used Rumo Mezzi Rigatoni No.51.
- You can adapt this recipe with any protein, cheese or vegetable you have on hand. Simply sauté your vegetables in the early stage and add them after you’ve cooked your onions and shallots. Mushrooms work great.
- I added the frozen peas in later because I didn’t want them to get mushy as frozen peas tend to do. If I had fresh peas, I would have added them in earlier with the ham so they would have time to cook through.
I hope you try making this gluten-free creamy pasta recipe with whatever leftovers you have on hand. It’s easy, delicious and breathes new life into leftovers.