As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty -- even if they're eaten while our eyes are on the screen. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today, Kristen shares her strategy for giving day-old pasta new life.

Sprucing up Leftover Pasta from Food52

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Kristen says:
Pasta ought to be the perfect Not Sad Desk Lunch -- chances are, you've got some leftover from dinner last night. But after a night in the fridge, noodles tend to go dry and clumpy -- eating them cold works, but it's a little sad

But with some sprucing, your faded pasta can be restored. Take Merrill's bright, springy Penne with Herb Butter and Peas. On day 1, we devoured all but one bowl. On day 2, I warmed the lingering Tupperware up in the microwave -- your office has a microwave, right? -- with a tiny bit of water to keep it from drying out. Then I jolted it back to life with more of the same herb butter and a squeeze of lemon. Also big sheets of Parmesan cheese for a little protein. I was not sad.

Tell us: how do you repurpose up day-old pasta?

Photo by Kristen Miglore

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • muse2323
  • mrslarkin
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • Brette Warshaw
    Brette Warshaw
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


muse2323 July 10, 2013
For cream-sauced pasta leftovers, I often like to put it in glass or casserole cookware, top it with grated parm and bake it till the parm is getting just a smidge toasty. Doesn't work for office settings, unless you happen have an oven at work (home ec teacher, maybe), but if you have enough for dinner leftovers, it works really well.
Kristen M. July 10, 2013
Totally trying this -- cream sauces are the tricky ones!
mrslarkin July 10, 2013
It's sooo good! When my oven broke a few summers ago, I relied on the microwave for so many things. Also, it sure beats heating up an already warm summer kitchen.
Marian B. July 10, 2013
mrslarkin July 9, 2013
For my leftover plain-ish pasta, I like to make a quick microwave sauce with about a cup of sliced grape tomatoes (I especially like the super sweet orangey ones), a few basil leaves, a sliced clove of garlic, s+p, and olive oil. Nuke till bubbly, then throw in the pasta (which you've heated with a tiny bit of water), and toss together. Top off with shaved parm.
Marian B. July 10, 2013
I love this! I had never thought to make a sauce like that in the microwave before. My roommate makes a (stovetop) sauce for pasta that uses butter, thyme, sage, wine/wine vinegar, and cherry tomatoes. It's so good.
Brette W. July 10, 2013
WOW i love that idea!
Kristen M. July 10, 2013
Yum, Mrs. L.