Rach’s Crowd-Pleasing Carrots, Peas and Cheesy Pasta
- 1 pound medium or large pasta shells
- One package cream cheese (8 ounces)
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- One box frozen peas and carrots (10 ounces), thawed
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (4 overflowing handfuls, or more to taste)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 10 fresh chives, snipped into short pieces with kitchen scissors
Put a large pot of water on to boil and cover it with a lid so the water comes to a boil quickly. Have a grown-up helper (GH) give you a hand if the pot is too heavy for you. When the water boils, add salt and the pasta shells and cook until the shells are almost done, 7-8 minutes; they should still have a little bite to them. Drain the pasta or ask your GH to do it for you.
Remove the foil wrapping from the cream cheese, place the cheese in a microwavable bowl and soften in the microwave, on high, for 30 seconds.
Grate the onion over a plate. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the EVOO, one turn of the pan, and the butter. When the butter melts into the EVOO, scrape the onion and its juice into the butter and add the garlic, then cook for 3 minutes. Using a fork, remove the big hunks of garlic. (The flavor of the garlic goes all through the butter and oil as soon as it heats up.)
Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Whisk in the broth and then the milk. Let the liquid come up to a bubble, then mix in the cream cheese until it melts and blends into the milk and broth completely. Stir in the veggies and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese into the sauce and remove the pan from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return the hot pasta to the pot it was cooked in and add the sauce with the veggies. Stir together and add more cheese, salt and pepper, if desired. Place the pasta in bowls and top with the chives. Delish!