Portabella mushrooms and leeks showed up in my CSA share more than a week ago and they sat inside the fridge, patiently waiting for recipe inspiration. Well, inspiration came by way of “make do with what you have on hand” due to my husband’s recent job loss. While our current financial situation certainly is stressful, it’s also an wake-up call to really “make do with what you have” regardless of your income.
So, I was especially interested in Cooking Light’s September issue featuring “cucina povera” which literally translates to “poor kitchen.” To quote the article, cucina povera “…really refers to the frugal genius of poor Italian cooks who made the most of anything abundant and affordable.”
So, rather than going to the store for a few unique, special ingredients to jazz up my veggies, I used what I had on hand. A box of couscous in the pantry, some sweet vermouth that’s been in our liquor cabinet for quite some time, a little butter, salt and pepper was really all I needed to make Mushroom & Leek Israeli Couscous.
And in the tradition of “cucina povera”, the dish was rich in flavor and hearty enough despite being inexpensive -definitely something I would make again, perhaps with barley (currently in my pantry) or kale (in my next CSA share) – adapting for what I have on hand.
For more humble yet delicious ideas, check out these Cooking Light cucina povera recipes .
Do you have a favorite “cucina povera” recipe from your kitchen?