The key to making this sauce is to sauté the vegetables long enough for them to develop a rich, sweet, intense flavor.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 1 hour
Serve for 4 people as a main course or for 6 people as part of a top Italian appetizer.
- 4 medium carrots
- 6 ounces broccoli florets
- 6 ounces cauliflower florets
- 1 medium clove garlic
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Penne Rigate pasta
1. Peel the carrots and cut them into -inch dice. Rinse the broccoli and cau liflower and cut the florets into 10-inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it with the olive oil in a skillet. Place over medium-high heat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower and lower the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper and add about ½ cup water. Cook until all the water is evaporated, then add another ½ cup water. Continue this routine until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Sauté the vegeta bles, stirring occasionally, without adding any more water, until they are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. After the vegetables have cooked for about 30 minutes, fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the pasta, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
4. While the pasta is cooking and after the vegetables have browned, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pasta water to the sauce to moisten it. When the pasta is done, drain it well, toss it with the sauce, and serve at once.
5. Ground parmesan can be added if desired.
Note: You can make the sauce up to 2 hours ahead of time. Do not refrigerate.