Food waste is a huge problem globally — starting with our own refrigerators. Over this Thanksgiving week, Americans will throw out almost 200 million pounds of turkey alone, according to figures from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But before you toss that bird, read on. We asked Massimo Bottura, one of the world’s best chefs, to help us figure out what to do with our holiday leftovers.
Bottura is a rock star in the food world. His restaurant in Modena, Italy, Osteria Francescana, has three Michelin stars. But at this moment, he’s in the kitchen of NPR’s cafeteria, bent over a compost bin. He’s looking for … ingredients.
“I found something very interesting — onion peels and celery,” Bottura says as he straightens up again. He also plucks out the stems of a bunch of Italian parsley and declares them “perfectly fresh.”
Bottura is a firm believer that nothing should be wasted in the kitchen. Most Americans aren’t so conscientious. A recent NRDC survey in three U.S. cities found that the average American tosses out 2.5 pounds of perfectly edible food each week. At the top of the list: produce and leftovers.
“The leftover is a big problem if you don’t have a vision, if you don’t have the knowledge of what you can do,” Bottura says.
Bottura’s vision for our Thanksgiving leftovers is a traditional dish from Emilia-Romagna, the region of northern Italy that he calls home. It’s a pasta dish served in broth: “Passatelli!” he says, letting each syllable roll out slowly on his tongue. It’s his daughter’s favorite dish, he says.
To make passatelli, you’ll need a turkey carcass, leftover bread, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and nutmeg. (The full recipe is below). As for the rest? It depends on what you have on hand. Bottura takes the scraps he found in our compost bin — celery, parsley, an onion which he chops roughly, skin and all — and lays them next to the turkey bones on a baking sheet. Then he adds something most of us toss out: the leafy green tops of carrots. He breaks off some of the greens and dips it in olive oil for me to taste: It’s very flavorful.
“People don’t realize how many ingredients you can discover if you are curious,” Bottura says.
Read the whole story here.