I know I can't speak for everyone, but sometimes I just want vegetables. Of course, it wasn't always that way.
I had an older, wiser cousin who taught me and my older sister how to discreetly get rid of broccoli in a napkin once when we were at Grandma's. How convenient.
It didn't work though... the one and only time I tried (that same fateful and educational day) I think I was caught.
Many kids aren't that interested in veggies and perhaps have a nightly battle of the wills with a parent or two. The kid will be stuck sitting at the table until they finish the hated vegetable, a few bites of the vegetable, or until the parent caves and the child is freed from the confines of their chair.
I'm sure this happened on occasion to me, but it was probably never an extreme case. I can't say it was really worth it.
The real fruit and vegetable desire happened around the time I was in college.
For the most part, many college dorm cafeterias leave something to be desired in the produce department. In fact, many are notorious for their not-so-great food. And so, when I was home I really wanted FRESH fruit and vegetables.
This can be soooo good, and will be best if you make sure to take your time so that the broth reduces and the flavor intensifies.
The quickest way to reduce is to make sure you're using a pan that's as wide and shallow as possible to make sure that evaporation will happen easily. Really- it works better.
Greater surface area for the heat distribution will save time and frustration.
As a dutch oven, the pan I used this time around would not be classified as shallow.
And (Maisie) it can easily be made gluten-free if you just make sure the broth and pasta you choose are gluten-free.
3 1/2 c vegetable stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 c carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 c zucchini or yellow squash, cut in a large dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 c peas, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 lb. dried pasta
4 T butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta per package instructions until al dente (I usually undercook just a little because the pasta will continue cooking with the sauce later).
While the pasta is cooking, in a large saute pan bring 2 cups of the stock to a boil. Add the thyme and a little salt. Add the carrots and cook for three minutes. Make sure the stock continues to boil before you add each additional vegetable. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the peas and cook until all vegetables are just barely tender. By this time most of the stock should have evaporated. Add the butter and cook over medium heat for a minute and then add the remaining stock. Cook until all the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
Drain the pasta in a colander and toss it with the vegetables and broth. Cook for a minute or so of the broth seems a little soupy. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Toss with 2 cups of Parmesan to help thicken the sauce.
Serve the pasta with additional Parmesan.