This is my version of one pot pasta that customizes the vegetable matter to please both kids and their adult companions: the kids get a plain mac and cheese-like dish and grownups get snap peas brightening up this hearty classic. Substitute asparagus, English peas, cauliflower or broccoli (though note that bits of broccoli florets will remain finished dish).
Course Main Course
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 12minutes
Total Time 17minutes
2cupssnap peas, stemmed and cut in half if large
12ouncesshaped pastaor gluten-free pasta
1/2teaspoonfine sea salt
1 1/2cupshalf and halfor evaporated milk
2cups(about 4 ounces) coarsely grated parmesan, plus additional for servingor asiago
Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat. Add the salt and the snap peas, cover and steam for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the snap peas to a bowl, reserving all the water, and set the snap peas aside.
Add the pasta, half and half and garlic to the sauce pan. Bring to a boil once again and then reduce heat to maintain a low boil. Stir frequently until the pasta is nearly al dente, 8 to 14 minutes, depending on the shape. (If the liquid reduces too much to finish cooking the pasta, add an additional 1/4 cup of water at a time.)
Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese and stir well to blend. Taste for salt, adding additional to suit your taste.
Dish up the kid portions, serving a portion of the snap peas on the side. Then add the remaining snap peas to the pan and stir to distribute them into the cheesy pasta. Serve both versions garnished with additional parmesan to taste.
If the pasta sits and the cheese sauce becomes glommy, just add a few tablespoons of additional half and half, milk or water and warm the pot over low heat until the pasta is creamy and smooth once again.