Simple, healthy and delicious!
- 2 small (“fancy”) zucchini (about 6 ounces)
- 10 asparagus spears
- ¼ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen peas, defrosted and drained
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into thin strips (about ½ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 6 large mushroom caps, sliced thin (about 2 cups
- 2 cups sliced, peeled and seeded fresh plum tomatoes or canned Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup hot Vegetable Stock Chicken Stock or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth (see note above)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta, such as penne, spaghetti or shells
- 1½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Trim the ends from the zucchini and cut them in quarters lengthwise. With a paring knife, cut out and discard the seeds, leaving the green skin with about ½ inch of white attached. Cut the trimmed zucchini crosswise into 1 ½-inch lengths, then cut the pieces lengthwise into ¼ inch strips. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus spears and cut the trimmed spears on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces. Parboil the vegetables as follows: drop the green beans, broccoli and fresh peas, if using, into the boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and frozen peas, if using, and cook 2 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Rinse them under cold water and drain again thoroughly.
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, add the crushed red pepper and season lightly with salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, the zucchini and the parboiled green vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil, remove the sauce from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Stir the penne into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and return the pasta to the pot. Add half the liquid portion of the sauce, leaving most of the vegetables behind, and bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring well. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in half the grated cheese. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Spoon the pasta onto a warm platter or into warm bowls and spoon the remaining sauce and vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.