Spaghetti with Tuscan Diced Vegetable Sauce
This vegetable sauce combines artichokes, zucchini, celery, onions, and carrots, cooking them all for the same amount of time so that the tender zucchini will become almost a puree while the artichokes and carrots will remain firm.
1 large artichoke
1 large lemon, cut in half
2 medium-sized zucchini
1 large stalk celery
1 medium-sized red onion, peeled
1 medium-sized carrot, scraped
20 large sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ripe, fresh tomatoes or 1 pound canned tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 (16-ounce) package dry spaghetti, prepared according to package directions
- Place the artichoke in a bowl of cold water with the lemon halves; put the zucchini and celery in a second large bowl of cold water and soak both for 30 minutes.
- Finely chop the onion, carrot, and parsley. Place the oil in a heavy, medium-sized flameproof casserole over low heat, and when the oil is warm, add the chopped ingredients and sauté for 10 minutes.
- Clean the artichoke and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters, then into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the celery into similar-sized pieces. Add the vegetables to the casserole, sauté for 2 minutes, then cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon.
- If using fresh tomatoes, cut them into pieces. Pass fresh or canned tomatoes through a food mill, using the disc with the smallest hole into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add tomatoes to the casserole and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cover and cook for 20 minutes more. Add the broth, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, taste for salt and ground black pepper. (The sauce may be prepared a day in advance, refrigerated in a covered ceramic or glass bowl and reheated before using.)
- Serve sauce ladled over spaghetti pasta.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.