Reducing waste in the kitchen: this is what you can do

Tips for reusing leftovers

The figures and economic data on food waste – considering that most food doesn’t even make it to the table – reflect a serious situation that needs to be changed: €750 billion a year, one-third of the world’s food, 45% of which is fruit and vegetables.

This is a situation that calls for each of us to make a difference on a daily basis. All we need to do is change a few small habits, and we may even discover something new that we like.

We have all had to throw away wilted vegetables lying around in the fridge at least once in our lives, or have had to use up small amounts of food, perhaps even left over from the day before.

In these cases, the watchword is: reusing. How? By creating new tasty dishes. For example, pasta is the perfect ally for preparing tasty and creative no-waste recipes.

TIPS TO REDUCE WASTE IN THE KITCHEN: THE INGREDIENTS

  • Cheeses: you can reuse them to add flavour to creamy vegetable soups or pureed soups, pasta dishes or risottos. The rinds of mature cheeses can also be used to flavour a simple vegetable soup, as long as the outer parts, which often go mouldy, are washed well.
  • Pasta and rice: for a tasty dish, a good idea is to combine a classic omelette with other preparations such as croquettes, arancini or timbales made with leftover pasta and rice. Or, by adding a light béchamel sauce, you can make oven-baked casseroles or au gratin dishes.
  • Vegetable peels: most of them are edible, so they can be used as a garnish, or they can be fried or roasted in the oven with a drizzle of oil. Just make sure you do not eat them after germination or if they have green patches.
  • Bread: dry bread or bread left over from the day before can be a valuable ingredient when grated or used as a filling or stuffing. If you flavour it with garlic and anchovies, you will obtain the famous “pane atturrato”, which adds an extra touch to many Sicilian first courses.
  • Pestos: a great way to reuse vegetable leaves, not only basil leaves but also radish leaves, carrot peels, or broccoli or asparagus stalks.  The outer leaves of chicory, Savoy cabbage, lettuce or escarole are more bitter and tough, but when pan-fried they become crispy with a distinctive flavour. 
  • Citrus fruits: the underside of the peel contains natural antibiotic substances, enzymes, vitamins and mineral salts that are not found in equal concentration in the pulp. This is why it is important to incorporate it into our daily diet. The peels can be used in many ways for cooking and pastry making.  Not surprisingly, they are perfect to enrich a pasta dish.
  • Fish fumets and stock: from fish heads and bones for fumets to shellfish shells for bisques, as well as meat bones and trimmings to make stock.
  • Meatballs: popular with children and adults alike, they are the best way to use up leftover meat, vegetables and legumes. 

To put the Chef’s best cooking tips into practice, try his delicious no-waste recipes!

Whole grain tortiglioni with leek

Potato pie with gorgonzola

Wholegrain tortiglioni with vegetable pesto skin stem and leaves

Whole grain spaghetti with radish

Whole grain pennette with lemon

Fusilli with red radicchio

ROBERTO BASSI

In the kitchen, avoiding waste is always preferable, not only for the sake of environmental sustainability but also because, by being a little creative, we can make tasty dishes by using the leftovers we all have in our fridge.
 

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