Half the fun of stews is choosing which carb to serve on the side. As much as I love a crusty loaf of bread and potatoes in all their forms, my favourite partner for rich, meaty braises will always be the humble buttered noodle — specifically, cheap lasagna noodles that have been smashed to bits.
Broken lasagna noodles edge out more classic options like dried egg noodles or fresh pappardelle for a few reasons. Crushing them up into jagged shards lets you choose the perfect size; the noodles can be as enormous and floppy or teeny-tiny as your stew demands.
Once boiled, they’re surprisingly substantial — you just need one or two whole noodles per serving — and all those ridges and ruffly edges are excellent sauce traps. And, since no lasagna recipe on earth uses exactly one or exactly two boxes of noodles, they’re basically free. I bet there’s a lonely, mostly-empty box of lasagna noodles in your pantry right now.
The next time you have a hearty braise in need of a carb friend, skip the fancy pastas and go straight for the cheap stuff in your pantry. There’s no special prep required: just break some noodles up and boil them in salted water until al dente.
Like any other dried pasta, you could stop here, or you could finish them in a pan with a splash of pasta water and a bit of stew. I served them with a chicken thigh stroganoff situation, but broken lasagna is the perfect match for everything from boeuf bourguignon to vegan bolognese and anything else you can dream up.