Water for pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, veal or lamb (or a combination of)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 large zucchini, sliced into cubes
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
10 ounces rigatoni pasta
Fill a 5 quart stock pot with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and let water come to a boil.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet on medium high heat. Crumble ground beef and brown. Drain fat in colander and return to skillet. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 3 minutes. Add remaining olive oil to pan and toss in zucchini. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until it is almost soft. Add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until tender but still firm.
Add Rigatoni to boiling water and cook until al dente.
Add, tomatoes, 1 ladle of pasta water and 26 ounce jar pasta sauce (or homemade) to skillet. Stir in sugar. When sauce is hot, stir in cheese. Allow to simmer about 20 on low heat so flavors can meld.
Drain pasta well and return to pot. Add contents of skillet to pasta. Toss gently to combine.
Plate in shallow bowls. Garnish with freshly grated Romano cheese. Serve with crusty Italian bread and herb dipping sauce.
Cooks Note: You can make this totally vegetarian by removing the meat.