Ready to begin cooking, I surveyed the recipe, which I had in my files from a 2000 of Prevention magazine. No biggie, I thought to myself. I can whip this together in no time. I accomplished steps 1 and 2—boil pasta, drain, cook onion in oil.
Then I looked again. Where was the remainder of my recipe? I looked on the back of the magazine clipping. The back contained the directions for other recipes, but this one had managed to be continued on a page I didn't save. I dashed to the computer to Google it. Alas, Prevention didn't appear to keep recipes from a decade ago. I did an online search of veggie pasta recipes in general. Nothing seemed exactly what I had in mind. I would have to wing it.
Now, winging it is tough for those of my "J" personality type. As I've mentioned before, I have to have things outlined for me methodically, with no deviations allowed. Don't change directions on me, and for heaven's sakes, don't require me to improvise. But my ingredients already were assembled; I couldn't turn back. I simply would have to invent my own version of how this dish should be made.
Well, as you can see from the attached photo, bottom line was that things turned out just fine. To fill in the gaps I added the remaining steps that seemed to be provided. This dish was an easy thing, with no oven preparation required—mainly a heat-and-stir operation. So I "made do" by using my own ingenuity. And invention seemed to be part of this recipe anyway, since you could build your own dish by adding whatever veggies and whatever kind of cheese you desired or had on hand.
The result was a wonderful winter-evening meal—and to suit the constraints of No-Time December perfectly, it made enough for two or three meals for Hubby and me. That's at least one or maybe two more December nights I get a pass on cooking. Hooray for me! I overrode my "J-ness" and used my head to create a to-die-for entree that even could show up at a Christmas bring-a-dish with no shame whatsoever.
Vegetable and Cheese Pasta
12-ounces angel hair or linguine pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into small wedges
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups cooked vegetables (any combination, such as cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, beets, cabbage, rutabagas, parsnips)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces cheese (such as Cheddar, feta, or Monterey Jack), crumbled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain; reserving some of the liquid. Set aside. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes or until the onion is almost soft. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Into the same skillet stir in the balsamic vinegar, vegetable broth, cooked vegetables, fresh oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add pasta and stir, mixing thoroughly. If necessary for moisture add a few tablespoons of the reserved liquid from cooking the pasta. Add all the cheese, reserving the two tablespoons Parmesan for topping. Stir until cheese is melted. Pour mixture into large pasta bowl. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on top. Serves 8.