The secret to reinvigorating leftover spaghetti, I've found, is to incorporate one new element. Just one. Whether it's a handful of olives, a sprinkling of toasted nuts, or even a touch of cream, the new item distracts the diner from the fact that you're serving yesterday's food.
One morning while our guests slept upstairs, I spent about 5 minutes (no lie) prepping some garlicky roasted tomatoes. Into the oven they went, and 45 minutes later they were done. Once they cooled, I nestled them in a jar, topped them with olive oil, and pushed them to the back of the fridge. I didn't know what I'd use them for, but I sensed they'd come in handy as a stop-gap measure should a dinner emergency arise.
Two nights later it happened. Half the household got involved in a four-hour Monopoly game, and by the time we called for pizza the one place on our part of the island had stopped delivering. I crouched in front of the fridge and eased out all the leftovers -- sausages, cold spaghetti, asparagus, a half-nub of cheese.
Wait. What's that?
Recipe for Leftover Spaghetti with sausage, asparagus, and garlic-roasted tomatoes
Having roasted tomatoes on hand brightens up any cold pasta, even spaghetti, which is notoriously difficult to make appealing after it has been in the fridge for a few days. This is more of a concept than a strict recipe, because you can substitute any leftover meats, cheeses, or vegetables you happen to have lying around. Got leftover pesto? Toss it in.
Handful of skinny asparagus spears
Leftover cooked sausage, sliced into rounds
Olives, toasted nuts, capers, pesto sauce (all optional)
Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the asparagus until crisp-tender. Toss in the sausage and (re)-brown. Add the spaghetti, the tomatoes, and the oil in which the tomatoes were packed, and toss with tongs until the pasta is very hot. (Feel free to cover the skillet briefly. Add a spoonful or two of water to prevent sticking) Break the cheese into little buttons and sprinkle on the hot pasta, tossing once or twice more so it softens and begins to melt. Divide among serving bowls, and add optional garnishes, if desired. Hit one final time with olive oil for a last hurrah.