Second Time Around – Orecchiette & Spinach

My grandmother was the queen of making leftovers into another amazing meal. I’m not sure if it was her upbringing in an Italian family with 14 brothers and sisters who immigrated to the United States, or if it was just her nature not to let anything go to waste.

At some point in my childhood, grandma and grandpa came to live with us. This occurred from time to time throughout the years, as is common in Italian families. Grandma was a good cook and fixed many of the meals. She was very resourceful with ingredients. However, there were times as a child I asked her, “what was this when it was new?” 

Today’s recipe isn’t complicated, is totally recognizable (LOL), and can be adjusted to whatever leftovers you have on hand. This day I had orecchiette, meatballs, and spinach in the fridge. All ingredients were pre-cooked from other meals so it was a snap to put this dish together. All I had to do was add a jar of pasta sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, reheat, and done! Eliminate meatballs for a vegetarian meal. 


Orecchiette, Spinach & Meatballs

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  • 4 cups orecchiette pasta (or your favorite), cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach, cooked
  • 8 meatballs, cooked (I had turkey meatballs on hand for this recipe)
  • 1 jar pasta sauce, homemade or store brand
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Toss orecchiette with a little of the pasta sauce to moisten. Heat a sauce pan or frypan (whichever you prefer for heating ingredients). *I don't think Microwaving gets all ingredients uniformly heated, but you could use that method if you prefer.
  2. Put pasta, meatballs and spinach (see note) in the pan to reheat, stirring to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more sauce as necessary.
  3. Remove heated ingredients to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


I usually put the spinach in last, just enough to heat it up before serving. I don't care for it with a lot of sauce on it. Add it whenever you want - it doesn't take long to heat up.


Calories: 2930 cal
Carbohydrates: 176 g
Fat: 143 g
Sodium: 1654 g
Cholesterol: 635 g
Protein: 219 g
Fiber: 11 g

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