Spiaggia is Chicago's only Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, and to dine there "is to celebrate a Chicago grande-dame," per inspectors. "The way we design our menu is regionally by seasonally," says executive chef Joe Flamm. "As the weather changes, we change our focus to the region we're cooking from in Italy." Flamm notes that springtime in Chicago is similar to that in Rome, which means the menu currently reflects Roman influences and culinary sensibilities.
One item currently on the menu is agnolotti aglio e olio featuring fermented ramp pasta stuffed with Parmigiano-Reggiano that's finished tableside with Calabrian chile oil. For the unfamiliar, "aglio e olio" translates to "garlic and oil," which form the basis of one of the simplest pasta sauces in existence. (It's also common for many cooks to add a pinch of chile flakes for some heat.) So it's clear what the inspiration for this dish is, but Flamm's use of a ramp purée in the pasta dough brings in the taste of spring.
Below, Flamm has modified the restaurant's agnolotti aglio e olio into a recipe accessible for home cooks.
Agnolotti 'Aglio e Olio'Recipe Courtesy of Executive Chef Joe Flamm, Spiaggia
For the Ramp Pasta:
4 ½ cups "00" flour, plus more for dusting
20 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
½ cup Ramp Purée (recipe below)
For the Parmesan Filling:
4 cups cream
16 ounces of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 egg yolk
For the Spicy Olive Oil:
4 cups olive oil
1 ounce chile peppers
1 sprig thyme
1 Parmesan rind
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, diced
Fresh microgreens, such as mustard greens, chervil and red sorrel, for garnish
Lemon zest, for garnish
1. Make the Ramp Pasta: Mix the ingredients in a stand mixer until a ball forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and work with your hands until elastic; cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
2. Make the Parmesan Filling: Reduce the cream by half over medium heat. Add the cream and the cheese to blender and blend until smooth; whisk in the egg yolk. Put the mixture in a piping bag and chill.
3. Make the Spicy Olive Oil: Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and cook on low heat for 45 minutes; strain.
4. To serve: Roll out the pasta to ⅛-inch thick and cut into 3-inch wide strips. Fill with a ½-inch of Parmesan Filling along the length of each strip of pasta. Roll the dough over itself one and a half times and pinch the dough with your thumb and forefinger in ¾-inch increments. Use a fluted cutter to cut the pasta dough ½-inch above where the filing is straight across and then cut perpendicular through the pinches in the dough. Cook the agnolotti in salted boiling water until it floats; toss in a pan with some butter and pasta water, finish with some of the Spicy Olive Oil, garnish with some herbs and lemon zest and serve.
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Combine ½ cup ramps and ½ cup spinach in a blender and blend until smooth. (There is no need to add any liquid.)
Photos by Haas & Haas Photography.