Great Food in the Windy City

You’ll know by now that I favor Italian food, and I have mentioned the fine fare to be had at Osteria Trulli before; now it’s time to pay this wonderful restaurant a little more attention. We’ll find it tucked away at 1510 Hintz Rd., in Arlington Heights, and we are met at the door by the owner and chef, Giovanni DeNigris, and his excellent staff.

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In talking with him we’ve discovered that the cuisine is essentially cucina povera, from the Puglia region of Italy (the heel of the “boot”). Fresh vegetables and seafood, some meat, pasta, of course, are all prepared daily, simply, and with the Italian flair for seasonings.  Ask about the specials because there are often new, enticing items on the menu that come only once and only for a day or two, because some especially intriguing ingredient became available, and Giovanni could not resist creating a new recipe around it.  Oh, yes!

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Bread, of course, and water are immediately at the table, so we take in the charming décor, with the pass-through window that lets us see the wood fired oven where dinner (and some really great, blistered crisp, thin crust pizza) is cooked, and place a couple of orders of antipasti. How hungry are you? The Melazzane al Cartoccio, eggplant wrapped around spinach and seasoned bread crumbs, with Pomodoro sauce and Parmesan cheese for me, please.  Perhaps you’d like the Homemade Sausage?  It comes with red peppers and potatoes, in a tomato and red wine sauce.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  (It is, naturally.)

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For a salad – Pomodoro Gorgonzola consisting of sliced tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, some thinly sliced onions, on a bed of mixed greens, lightly traced with a fine olive oil, and a delightful balsamic syrup which is far tastier than anything “balsamic” I’ve ever had before.

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For a VERY traditional dish from the Puglia region, try the Orecchiette con Cime de Rapá.  It is far different from your usual Italian pasta dish.  “Orecchiette” are pasta shaped like “little ears”, and that’s exactly what the name means.  Freshly made, served, with rapini, which are actually the leaves of a kind of turnip, sauteed in a garlic and olive oil.  Fresh, green, with a moderate bitterness that’s expected in leaves of this type, so perfectly set off by the flavors of the garlic and olive oil.

If you’d rather, an excellent fresh Fettucine Bolognese is yours for the asking.  Beautifully made pasta served, properly al dente,  in a properly seasoned and flavored meat sauce.  It’s yummy!

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We’ll all share the desserts, please?  The flourless chocolate cake is just so enticing with raspberry lacing, ice cream, whipped cream, what’s not to love about this?  I’m absolutely going to have the Panzerottini Dolce con Ricotta. Sweet ricotta cheese, chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, anisette with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato all packed in, around and all over a small calzone.  Oh, my, how delicious.  We’ve barely sampled the menu, and let me tell you, “I’m stuffed.”  No doubt about it, we’re coming back, soon.  Osteria Trulli, 1510 E. Hintz Road, Arlington Heights, 224-347-1010,  www.osteriatrulli.com

Please, set a date, perhaps with a group of friends, take some time and visit Osteria Trulli.  You will truly be glad you did. 

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Frank Brichetto

Interview