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That’s Amore (Part 2)

This article was written by Kristel Matousek and was featured in our September issue of Home By Design magazine. Recipe and photographs by Kristel Matousek from www.photoricalfood.com. To visit the original Home By Design article, click here.


Serves 2

  • 9 ounces 4-cheese tortellini
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups sliced mushrooms
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to your tastes

Add tortellini pasta to a pot of boiling water. Cook uncovered 3 to 5 minutes until they float to the surface, then strain off the water.

While the tortellini cooks, preheat a skillet over moderate heat. Melt the butter in the pan and toss the mushrooms and sage in the butter to coat. Sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.

Reduce heat to low, add the garlic, cooking until aromatic 20 to 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add tortellini to the skillet, and coat in the browned butter. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes, and serve immediately.

ADD A PROTEIN. Tastes great with chicken, Italian seasoned ground sausage, or pancetta.


Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) pancetta or uncooked bacon, small dice
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) eggplant, medium dice
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) onion, small dice
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) celery, small dice
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) carrots, small dice
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano–style tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water or low-sodium vegetable stock, additional as needed
  • ½ pound dried garganelli
  • Salt as needed
  • Parmesan, for garnish

Preheat a saucepan over moderately high heat. Sauté the pancetta in oil until slightly browned. Add the eggplant, onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and sweat to soften.

Add the ground pork and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, 20 to 30 seconds.

Pulse the tomatoes in a blender for 3 to 4 seconds before adding them to the saucepan, along with the bay leaf and vegetable stock. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 2 hours. Check occasionally, adding more stock if needed to prevent scorching. Taste and season with salt to your tastes.

Add the garganelli to a separate pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cook the pasta al dente then remove from the water, retaining the liquid.

Adjust the consistency of the sauce with the retained liquid if needed. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce to coat. Garnish with Parmesan, and serve.


Serves 4

  • Prepared pesto, as needed (recipe below)
  • ½ pound dried orecchiette pasta
  • Cherry tomatoes, for garnish


  • ½ cup (1.25 ounces) grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or cashews
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 cups (1.5 ounces) basil leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to your tastes

To make the pesto, combine the cheese, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the basil leaves. Turn on the processor and slowly add the oil as it processes. Blend smooth. Taste and season with salt as needed. Use right away, or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for later use. To prevent oxidation and browning while storing, cover the top with a little olive oil to protect it from the air.

Add orecchiette pasta to a separate pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cook the pasta al dente then remove from the water, retaining the liquid.

Immediately combine the hot pasta with your desired amount of prepared pesto sauce, tossing to coat. For a creamier sauce consistency, add a few teaspoons of the hot retained liquid to the pasta as you toss them in the pesto. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, and serve warm.