When I was a kid, my mom used to make veggie surprise. And while I'm sure it was just her way to use up extra veggies before they went bad, I got pretty excited about it. Veggies changed, but usually revolved around onions, garlic, tomatoes, fresh spinach fettucini — maybe some yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots — whatever was around. Faced with some soon-to-be-not-so-fresh veggies in my fridge, I thought back to my mom's veggie surprise. I even found a few more surprises to add in. Surprise! This organic-wonder sausage was on sale, use it. Surprise! You've got 3 boxes of 2/3-empty pasta, use it! Surprise! I'm going to need some wine, so I'll throw a (teeny) bit in.
About one second before I dumped my veggie (and sausage and pasta) surprise into a big bowl, surprise! My mom called, and her house was flooding. See, here in Florida, it's so hot in the summer, our air conditioning systems break. Usually, it happens on Friday. After 5. On Fourth-of-July weekend. So I plopped a lid on my jumbo travel Pyrex, and we hit the road. Twenty minutes later, we moved the piano, shop-vacced up the water, and lined the baseboards with towels. And surprise! We all sat down to dinner together. (But I didn't bring my big-girl camera, so there's no photo from dinner. Enjoy my leftovers-lunch shot from my iPhone.)
I'll post what I made, but let's not call it a recipe — it's really just about finding some veggie flavors that work together. Toss it with pasta. Spoon it over rice. Surpise yourself.
4 links hippie organic sweet Italian chicken sausage, sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 c. white wine
16 oz. pasta (I used a combo of penne, whole wheat penne, and capatavi)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, cook according to directions. Drain and keep hot, reserving a cup or so of the pasta water to use in case your veggie surprise needs to get more saucy.
Bring a skillet to med-high heat, and brown the sausage, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the sausage, and add the leek and bell peppers. Cook until just soft and slightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the veggies, add the broccoli to the pan, just browning, 2-3 minutes. Throw everything back into the pan — the sausage, leek and bell peppers. Add the tomatoes and white wine, stirring until the tomatoes just start to pop.
Mix together the pasta and veggies. Enjoy.