Photos by Rikki Snyder
Not everyone is a fan of leftovers, but for me, it feels like a triumph to cook once and have dinner for two days. I win at meal planning! Take that, world! And then I do a little dance in my kitchen, waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care, thinking about all the things I’ll have time for now that I don’t have to make dinner. Things like watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and making up songs about my cats.
I do get why some people have an aversion to leftovers, though. A lot of the time, things just aren’t quite as good the second time around. So this recipe is the perfect compromise for leftover lovers and leftover haters. It starts with a big batch of arugula pesto. Whip that up and use it to make Roasted Red Pepper and Mozzarella Sandwiches one night, and then the next night, use it to make a pasta dinner.
Let’s start with the sandwiches. You can grill them panini-style to make them gooey and melty and warm, or you can skip that part and eat them without heating. Arugula has a peppery, assertive flavor, so I like pairing it with a mild cheese like mozzarella and sweet roasted red peppers. And you have options here too—use jarred red peppers to save time or roast your own, it’s up to you.
You’ll have plenty of pesto left after making the sandwiches; just enough to toss with pasta the next day for another dinner. Add some sun-dried tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and toasted pine nuts to make it a meal. That’s a 15-minute dinner right there! Now go write some songs about your cats with all that free time you have.
Jarred roasted red peppers can be substituted for the fresh red bell pepper. If you can't find a loaf of ciabatta bread at your grocery store, any sturdy, crusty bread will work.
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