I may sound like a broken record, but I try not to waste food. In Vietnamese, it is tội chết: "dreadfully sinful" to waste. Yesterday, I had a little bit of leftover boiled bow-tie pasta. The quantity was too little to serve as a main dish, so I seasoned them, deep-fried them and served them as chips.
To ensure everyone enjoyed the small amount of chips in equal portions, I used them as crunchy toppings for pea and leek soup. You could serve them as appetizers for a buffet-style party (maybe next week for Christmas Eve) in mini shot glasses. A sprinkle of curly parsley is more than enough to provide an elegant final touch.
Waste not, want not!
Servings: 6 servings
4 ounces bow-tie pasta, boiled, drained and rinsed
2 cups peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), as needed
3 leeks (6-inch pieces, white part only)
1½ (16-ounce) packages frozen green peas
1 to 1¼ quarts vegetable stock
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
3 tablespoons sweet basil leaves, chopped
2¼ teaspoons kosher salt, as needed
½ teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
3 strips turkey bacon (optional)
1 tablespoon curly parsley, finely chopped
For the bacon (if using): In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the turkey bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes. Finely chop into small bits.
For the green pea soup:
In the same pot, heat more oil. Add the leeks and cook until slightly golden. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the green peas and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add the basil leaves. Let cool a little and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot. Add nutmeg and about ½ cup water to thin it and cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the bow-tie pasta with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with half the garlic powder and onion powder.
Layer a cooling rack, lined with paper towels, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).
In a small pan (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).
Test the oil by dropping one piece of pasta into the hot oil. It should be sizzling.
Place the bow ties, in batches, into the hot oil. Fry on both sides. Make sure they don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere . Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden.
Delicately lift the fried pasta, draining as much oil as possible and transfer to the cooling rack. Sprinkle with the remaining garlic powder and onion powder.
Place 1 teaspoon bacon bits (you could also use soy bacon bits for a smoky flavor) into the bottom of the mini shot glasses. Pour in the pea soup. Garnish with the pasta chips and sprinkle with parsley.
You can add water, depending on how thick / thin you want the soup.
For optimal results when heating the frying oil, the thermometer should register 345°F to 360°F. Heat the oil over medium to high heat (for a nice golden color).