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A classic dish using a mixture of pasta, bright green al dente vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. The key lies more in the method than the ingredients; indeed, using your own personal blend of favorite veggies is part of the fun of this dish.
First, prep the vegetables. Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ cups worth. Dice half a yellow onion. Chop 3 to 4 cloves of garlic. Slice carrots on the bias (diagonally), and do the same for the zucchini and yellow squash. Roughly slice the mushrooms and slice the red pepper (seeded) into strips.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic together and cook for a minute or two, until they start to turn translucent. Then throw in the broccoli. Stir, and add in the carrots.
Stir it around, and PLEASE, PLEASE cook it for only a minute, tops. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Add in the red pepper strips to the skillet. Stir them around for a minute or so, then transfer them to the plate.
Add pasta to slightly salted boiling water and cook to al dente.
Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add squash and zucchini, cook for less than a minute, then transfer to plate. Cook mushrooms for a minute or two (add salt to taste), and again transfer to the plate.
FOR THE SAUCE
To make the sauce, pour ¼ to ½ cup dry white wine into the skillet (see note below). Add ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth, a tablespoon of butter and scrape the bottom of the skillet to pull up the flavor left behind by the veggie cooking. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the liquid starts to thicken.
Add 1 cup whipping cream and 1 cup half-and-half. Measure out ½ cup grated Parmesan; add to the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chiffonade 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves and add that to the sauce; stir.
Dump veggies and mushrooms into the sauce along with ½ cup frozen peas right out of the freezer. Add pasta al dente and stir. If the sauce seems a little thick, or if there doesn’t seem to be enough sauce, add a good splash of chicken broth and a little more half-and-half. Top with more Parmesan, salt, pepper, and basil to taste.
Note: if you’re averse to wine, add chicken broth instead. But watch the salt later.