Now that Leandro loves aglio, olio e peperoncino, I am milking the situation. I am adding all sorts of vegetables in the pasta water 3-4 minutes before taking off the boil and draining. Then I drench all of it in the ali-oli and spice! Leandro will now try anything if it is part of aglio-olio, so our carrot consumption is way, way up.
Aglio-olio veggie variations (serves 2)
½ lb pasta of your choice (with vegetables, penne or other short and fun pasta – wagon wheels, fiore, farfalle, fusilli – are a good choice)
1-2 Cups Mix and Match Veggies 1: roughly chopped broccoli florets/peeled sliced carrots/ peas – in pods or frozen or fresh/cauliflower florets/chopped asparagus spears/shelled edamame (basically, whatever vegetables you like or think your kid might try and that need just a bit of softening to be edible and appealing)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Cup Mix and Match Veggies 2 (onion, peeled and chopped; or diced peppers: green, red, yellow, orange; mushrooms, chopped)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano
Boil the pasta according to package instructions, making sure to salt the water well. Add Mix and Match Veggies 1 to the pasta water 3-4 minutes before the pasta is fully cooked. Drain and reserve in a separate bowl or the colander. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta, add the olive oil, lowering heat to medium. When the olive oil is loose and fragrant, add mix and match veggies 2, garlic and red pepper flakes (to taste) and stir around until the garlic is golden (not brown). Add the pasta and vegetables back to the pot and mix well, adding grated cheese. Serve!