4 links fresh sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (optional)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 head of broccoli and stem, cut in florets and chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper
10 cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
26 ounces packaged strained Italian tomatoes, preferably Pomi
26 ounces packaged chopped Italian tomatoes, preferably Pomi
If you are using the sausage, heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the links until they are lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
In a 6-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for one minute. Then add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped zucchini and broccoli, if using, to the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook until they begin to give off some of their moisture. Pour in the tomatos and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavor has deepened. Season to taste.