I have never liked the term “leftovers.” To me, “leftovers” imply scraps. Superfluous remnants, really. Unwanted and unused remainders. Surplus.
But what remains after one dinner can be the start of the glorious next — sometimes a meal even more treasured than the former. This is the case with this dish.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore roast chicken, but what I love almost more is what follows the roast chicken dinner. I take the carcass and pick off every wonderful and delicious bit that I can. I save the juices and fat in a separate container. The next day, I remove the top layer of cold fat from the juices, which have now solidified into a beautiful amber jelly. I keep the fat for another day when I want to roast potatoes.
Perfectly al dente penne gets tossed with the morsels of meat. The added jellied juices melt into a luscious sauce. A good handful of freshly chopped parsley adds both freshness and crunch.
The result? The most chicken-y pasta in the world. A rich and dense meatiness permeates every mouthful, amplifying the flavor in what was already extremely flavorful chunks of chicken. Believe me, nothing is left over.