Living on an island with only once a week a ship that will bring fresh food and other goods I reuse as much as I can and leftovers always make a new dish. Seeing all those delicious recipes of pasta made me think "what can I do with the leftovers?" Of course you can put them in the freezer or make a salad but I want to try something different and that's how the pasta croquet was born. Originally the croquette was made of leftovers so why not one made of pasta?
On Thursday normally the ship comes in and if you want the best choice of fresh food you do your shopping on Thursday. So Thursday is always a busy day running from one store to an other and that make Thursday a leftover day or quick to make day. For my experiment I choose for a quick to make day: pasta with instant sauce and some extra ingredients.
One quick instant meal and enough leftovers for the croquettes. Thursday experimentation day!
For the quick meal I used Bertolli Alfredo sauce with garlic, ground beef and mushrooms and that became the basis of the croquette, but every sauce will do as long as the end result will become thick.
Step 1: What You Need
Cheese (preferable a Italian cheese but I used what I had in stock)
Breadcrumbs (any kind you like, I used Italian style)
Oil for frying
Step 2: The Making of Croquettes Part One
For this step you need the sauce, cornstarch, pasta, gelatin and cheese.
Cut the cheese in tiny bits and set aside.
Heat the sauce in a saucepan, do not let it boil.
Combine the cornstarch with a bit of boiled, and cooled down, water. I use one tbs of cornstarch and just enough water to make it fluid.
Mix the cornstarch into the sauce and stir till the cornstarch is absorbed and the sauce became thicker.
Stir in the pasta, I used half pasta/half sauce which was not a good choice. Although the taste in the end was good, the croquettes missed the creamy texture so I suggest to use 2/3 sauce 1/3 pasta.
The next stap is optional: Gelatin. I used gelatin because it make it easier to form the croquettes. For those who are vegetarians you can use agar agar. Before you pour in the gelatine be sure the sauce is round boiling point but not boiling.Turn of the heat and stir in the gelatine. Do not boil gelatin because it will get a very bad taste.
Put the sauce in a flat square dish and let cool down a bit for a few minutes. The layer in the dish should be about 2 cm high.
Stir in the cheese.
When the sauce is cooled down enough, put it in the fridge for at least a few hours, the sauce has to become firm and throughly cold. So now it's time for coffee.
Step 3: The Making of Croquettes Part Two
After a few hours or overnight in the fridge it is time to play and get messy.
Make two dishes, one with breadcrumbs and one with beaten eggs. I used two eggs and one small box of breadcrumbs which was too much.
With a cool knife cut the filling in rectangles of about 2x7 or 8 cm.
Take out the first rectangle with a cool flat knife and form it a bit. Avoid that pasta or cheese is sticking out because if it does the croquette will burst when frying.
Spiral the croquette first by the egg and then the breadcrumbs and repeat this step. Make sure the whole filling is covered and closed to avoid bursting when frying.
I washed my hands after every croquette because it is very sticky and also to keep them cool for cool hands works the best.
When finished put the croquettes in the fridge for a few hours to get firm again or put them in the freezer. Personally I prefer to put them in the freezer and fry them frozen.
Time for cleaning up the mess.
Step 4: The Making of Croquettes Part Three
For this step we need the oil, a pan or fryer. I used de fryer.
Heat the oil to 170 C and fry the croquettes for 5 minutes when frozen or 3 to 3,5 minutes unfrozen. Do not overload the fryer, make sure they do not touch each other.
Serve as a snack or as part of tapas diner. You can serve plain or with a pesto dip.
Time for a beer and a croquette! I was starting this just to give it a try and it turn out very well. Will you try it too?