One day last week I came home with the intention of making a box of mac and cheese and some kind of a side for dinner- something easy, maybe a basic salad. We had both worked late, I’d had a bad day and cooking just seemed like it would take a lot of time that I didn’t want to spend. You know the feeling?
But when I got home and opened the fridge, I realized I could combine a bunch of leftovers to make a simple pasta, and it would be something fresh instead of the box. It turned out to be very therapeutic!
Here’s what you need:
- Half pound of pasta (I chose radiatore because it was the open bag in my pantry – I think a long pasta is traditional, though)
- 3-5 large garlic cloves, minced
- half a large white onion or one shallot, diced
- 1 cup frozen pea and carrot mix
- 2 cup of diced broccoli (very small chop – measure the cup AFTER chopping)
- Half a cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 to 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan – NOT the stuff from the canister!
- 1 tbsp. fresh herbs – I used thyme
Start by getting the pasta cooking according to the package directions. While it’s boiling, heat a pad of butter in your largest skillet and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the broccoli, garlic, peas and carrots and bring the mixture back up to temperature. Add in the butter and the chicken stock to the skillet and bring to a simmer, then stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the mixture at a simmer and reduce the liquid by about half, until it coats the back of a spoon. You can add more broth or cream if you think you need it.
Add in the Parmesan as you stir, and then finally add the pasta in the pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle with extra pepper and fresh herbs before serving.