I’m not really good with naming things, so when Chris asked me to write out this recipe, I went with the first thing I could think of. All the delicious vegetables we used were given to us by friends, and eating them in this dinner make me think of the nice times we had with them, thus the name Friendship Pasta. Kinda dorky, I know, but there you go.
I made this up as I went along, so I’m sorry that my directions and ingredients aren’t very exact. Every time I ask my mom how she cooks something, she says you just do it until it looks right, which always frustrated me as a notice cook. How do I know it looks right if I’ve never done it? This recipe is kind of like that, and I apologize, but if you are using really good fresh ingredients, they will speak for themselves, and you can’t really mess them up.
Here’s what you need:
- Veggies from wonderful friends or a farmer’s market – I used maybe 4 cups worth of cut up veggies - a mixture of sliced young spring onions, baby patty pan squashed cut in half, an orange bell pepper cut to 1 inch pieces, and a handful of halved grape tomatoes.
- Pasta – anything that looks good, like tubes, cork screws, or even fettuccini would work. I used three big handfuls of dried Fusilli pasta (really skinny curled tubes)
- Herbs – most preferably fresh, but dried will do in a pinch. Just pick one flavor that sounds good to you – basil or thyme are good.
- Fresh garlic, 4-5 cloves, minced
- Olive oil, 1 tb or so
- Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp
- Honey, ½ tsp
- Whole milk, cream, or half/half – about a cup
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Cream Cheese – about 2 ounces (1/4 of a regular sized block)
- Flour – about 1 tb
- Parmesan – about ½ cup, plus more for garnish. Be sure you have the good stuff here. It is worth the $$, and will keep forever in the fridge if loosely wrapped and put in the cheese drawer
- Fresh lemon juice and/or zest (optional)
This is vegetarian pasta, but if you prefer something with meat, you can serve this alongside some grilled pork or chicken, or you could roast chunks of a good quality sausage in with the veggies.
Here’s what you do:
- Cut up your veggies into fairly large pieces. Soft things that will take less time to cook should be larger, and firm things that take longer to cook should be cut smaller. Place in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle on the olive oil, balsamic vinegar (or any other kind of vinegar), and the honey. Sprinkle on some salt and freshly ground pepper, about 3 minced garlic cloves, then the dried herbs to taste, or just lay in full pieces of fresh herbs. Stir if all up and roast in the oven at 350 for a half hour, stirring once halfway through.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water according to the directions on the package. Drain, but reserve about 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Set pasta aside.
- Place the reserved water with the milk or cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, bring to a boil, and stir constantly for about 2 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Stir in the garlic, cheeses, salt, and pepper, all to taste, cooking for about another 2 minutes. I added just a little bit of fresh lemon at this point for some zing, but it would have tasted just fine without it.
- Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, like a shallow wide pasta bowl. Toss with about half the sauce. Top with the roasted veggies, then drizzle with the remaining sauce. Top with some extra shredded parmesan and minced herbs.