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Make the whole recipe for a side dish, then add meatballs for a main dish a couple of days later.   Fast, easy and tasty, it's a great way to sneak in more veggies.

Linguine Primavera

1 lb. uncooked linguine
2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 sm. to med. zucchini, trimmed, cut in half the  long way & sliced on the diagonal
1/2 green pepper, in thin julienne strips
1/2 red bell pepper, in thin julienne strips
1/4 cup raisins
3 garlic cloves, crushed
red pepper flakes
to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 28-oz can of good quality crushed tomatoes (Note #1)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen or fresh cut green beans (Note # 2)
1/2 cup frozen or fresh green peas
1  6-oz can tomato paste (optional- taste first)

Put the pot of water on for the linguine.  See instructions at Perfect Pasta.

Heat the oil on a medium fire in a large pan, preferably non-stick.    When hot, add onions, carrots and zucchini.  Sauté, stirring frequently.   When onions are soft, add peppers.  Continue to sauté until veggies barely start to brown a little.  Add seasonings, garlic and raisins.  Sauté another two or three minutes, stirring constantly.  Add sugar, tomatoes and tomato puree.   Bring to a boil and turn low to simmer.

Microwave or steam the green beans and peas separately until tender but still bright green (the green beans usually take a little longer), or you can use leftovers.

When linguine is finished according to package instructions or Perfect Pasta, add the green beans and peas to the sauce (Note # 2), mixing gently but well.  Taste the sauce.   It probably doesn't need more salt, but you may wish to add more red pepper flakes.    Add sauce to the drained linguine and mix well to coat.  Taste again.   Some people prefer more tomato flavor; if so add part or all of a 6-oz  can of tomato paste.  Don't overdo the tomato; this is a side dish like potatoes or rice.

For a main dish a day or two later, make up a recipe of Easy Meatballs.  When done, add to an 8-oz can of tomato sauce and simmer for five minutes.  Heat the leftover linguine primavera (the microwave works great), add meatballs and sauce, and serve with lots of grated cheese.  


Note #1:  Cheap canned tomatoes usually don't work; the juice is thinner and they are more acid.   I use Progresso or Contadina.   There are probably others of the same quality but I'm not familiar with them.  Feel free to make recommendations.

Note #2:  You can also add very small quantities of other leftover veggies, such as yellow squash, baby lima beans, snow peas, cauliflower or broccoli florets.  Don't overdo it with anything the family may balk at!

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