About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms | Main | Eggplant Sauce with Tomato and Red Chili Pepper »

Mushroom Sauce with Ham and Tomato

Marcella provides 5 pasta options for this recipe. I am familiar with penne, ziti and fusilli; have no idea where to get maccheroncini, or what it looks like for that matter. I was able to get the fifth pasta option AND it was new to me; so that's how I settled on conchiglie. I know, I know, I'm way out there.

Marcella provides helpful directions on how to purchase and prepare the dried porcini mushrooms (in the transparent bag in the photo below) required for this dish - most helpful, as this was my first experience with this ingredient.


Like the other recipes encountered so far, most of the other ingredients are quite familiar. In fact many are already in the fridge or pull-out pantry. However, one ingredient gave me pause - "boiled unsmoked ham" .....Hmm?? Never heard those 3 words in sequence before. Google isn't much help - a lot of links self-reference back to one of Marcella's recipes. Maybe this is Marcella's idea of a little joke on all of us? The deli guy at Nicastro's, an "Italian Food Emporium" in Ottawa, was stumped for a bit, but then came up with a suggestion - and that's how I came to include a few slices of French jambon de Paris in this recipe.

Ham strips, porcini mushrooms & filtered water, cooking at a "lively heat."


Fresh mushrooms, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, plum tomatoes cooking at a "steady pace."


And here's the result.


How was it?

I liked the mushroom base of this sauce a lot - a new taste experience, big change from the usual tomato-based sauces. Hey! - that's what this project is all about, right? It was very good. Try it.

Comments (3)

Great photos, Doug! The mushroom sauce looks wonderful! Another recipe on the "to-do" list.

Yum! Doug, I like the way you photograph the ingredients before you begin cooking and also photograph the various stages of the process.


Looks great! I love mushrooms. This is on my "to make" list.

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