For Lent this year I considered saying "basta" to pasta in an attempt to eat more vegetables and protein. Thank God I had a change of heart, because it seems like every day I run into another scrumptious macaroni dish. My penchant for stuffed pasta, in combination with my fascination with ring-shaped foods, means I naturally gravitate toward tortellini (and their more buxom cousin tortelloni). Here are five to try in Houston:
5. Tortellini al sugo rosa (Giacomo's Cibo e Vino). There are many things to love about Giacomo's, such as the inventive array of cicchetti and the succulent secondi, but if you do not sample stuffed homemade pasta during your visit, you have missed out. The meat and cheese tortellini can be dressed with three different sauces (parmesan cream, tomato, and tomato cream), all of which robustly flavorful. The sugo rosa (tomato and cream), however, is my favorite for the way it balances garden flavors with decadent dairy.
4. Tortellini with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (Papa Mio Italian Cafe). Old-school, Italian-American restaurants like Papa Mio can break the rules in terms of culinary propriety and offer things like a create-your-own pasta option rather than forcing diners into more traditional flavor combinations. Their plump meat or spinach and cheese tortellini go from merely satisfying to snazzy with the addition of some red-pepper pesto. If the mild heat overwhelms you, just request some extra grated cheese.