Chunky Vegetable Sauce over Rigatoni Pasta

Although I serve this light but satisfying recipe as a meatless main dish, smaller portions make a wonderful side dish to simply prepared meats. One could add sliced Italian sausage, as well.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced medium
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1″ squares
2 medium zucchini, cut into quarter moons
8 oz crimini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato puree
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lb rigatoni or penne pasta
1 oz Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes and cook until vegetables soften slightly. Add tomato puree, season with salt and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in oregano.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and add to sauce, tossing to combine and adding enough pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Servings: 6