Veggies on Their Last Legs? – Pasta with Leftover Veg in A Wine Creamy Sauce

So the other night I needed to use up some veggies that were about a day or two away from growing hair (or at least some mold). I looked and found kale, mushrooms, some wilting leeks and two shriveled small cayanne peppers we had picked from our little backyard garden about 5 weeks ago. HMMMMMMM… what to make, what to make (tapping fingers, scratching head, eyes to the sky). What I knew was that I was NOT leaving the house to go to the market. I needed to come up with something and come up with something quickly. Another look in the fridge – I’ve got cream. I barely ever use cream. In fact, I barely ever buy cream. Cream sauce… it’s starting to come together. I can make a veggie cream sauce! But not sure I was craving some sort of crunch. Bacon! I’ll put it all over some fettucini. Perfect. Cheap and easy… how I like it! And even with some wilted, sad-looking veggies, once it’s sauteed, you’d never know.

***Also, this picture was manipulated in Photoshop, clearly. It was kind of out-of-focus, so I just (barely) jazzed it up. It actually doesn’t look too jazzy, but check our pics for the non-manipulated ones. Regardless, it’s still a nice dish to eat.



  • 1 lb of fettucini
  • 1/2 head of kale, stems removed and thick vein sliced out, cut into thin ribbons
  • any leftover veggies you may have (we used some sliced brown mushrooms, and 1 thinly sliced leek)
  • 1 hot pepper, sliced with seeds or 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 5 rashes of bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup of porcini stock or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup of light or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • good handfull of parmigiano reggiano
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

What to do

  1. Cook your bacon until crispy in the pan you will make your dish. Drain on a paper towel, reserving just a bit of the bacon fat in the pan, and set aside for later.
  2. Take your sliced hot pepper and your ribbons of kale and add to the same pan, using some of the leftover bacon fat (or add some olive oil) to saute it for 30 seconds to a minute. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water – cover and let steam until water evaporates – about another minute or two. Remove kale and set aside.
  3. Slice up your leftover veggies into bite-sized pieces. If you are not using leeks, I would recommend chopping up some onions to add flavor. Thinly slice your garlic. Saute in some olive oil until soft.
  4. Boil the water for your pasta.
  5. Add your veggies and saute all until medium soft. At this point, deglaze your pan with the marsala wine (or white wine if you choose). When it has decreased by half, add your porcini stock (or chicken stock if that’s all you have on hand). Let this decrease in half by simmering.
  6. As your wine is reducing, add your pasta in to cook – remember to cook it to al dente!
  7. After your stock has reduced, add a pat of butter and stir till melted into stock.
  8. Next, add your cream. You may decide that you do not need all 1/4 of a cup.
  9. Add your pasta with a small bit of the pasta water into your pan. Toss with the cream sauce and veggies. Add back the crispy bacon and spicy kale and toss again.
  10. Add a big handfull of parmigiano cheese and and the tablespoon of pepper. Taste for salt and add if necessary.
  11. Garnish with parsley if that’s your thing, drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and dig in!


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