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Monday, December 6

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« Friday Foodporn: Raspberries Keepin' it Kosher »

Openings Fri Jul 22 2011

Pasta Puttana Grows Roots

Pasta Puttana.jpgWhen Skilling says it's going to be 100 before the heat index is taken into account the last thing Chicagoans can think about is cooking. But thanks to Pasta Puttana's shop, newly opened on Grand Avenue, you can have dinner ready in 20 seconds flat. No joke.

Jessica Volpe aka Pasta Puttana has been a bit of a gypsy purveyor since June 2008 when she quit her full time gig at Terragusto to make her own local ingredient-based pastas. She has been making quite a name for herself, selling 2-serving packages of fresh pasta first at Edgewater Farmers Market and Dirk's Fish and now at Green City Market, Chicago Downtown Farmstand, Dill Pickle Food Co-op, Green Grocery, Olivia's Market, Whole Foods and Dirk's Fish.

Puttana's pastas are so simple, that one can hardly use the excuse "it's too hot to cook." On Wednesday night, my thermometer read 104 at 5:30pm and I still made this pasta. Trust me, it's just that easy. Ready? Don't blink cause you may miss the entire "recipe."

Put on a pot of water and bring it to a hard boil. I mean hard. You want it boiling hard enough that there is moisture on the top handle. See? Moisture.
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Throw in the pasta. Count to 20.
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Drain, toss with olive oil. Volpe recommends you leave the heavy sauces for your store bought variety pastas. Puttana pasta is best with a simple finish. I fried some sage leaves just until brown and crisp for this Roasted Squash variety, topped off with a bit of Romano, and it worked perfectly.
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And... done.
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So, OK. Maybe with all the extra tossing and draining your meal will take about 45 seconds but still, I promise you won't break a sweat. Or, if you think you will, pick up a pint of Snooklefritz Ice Cream at the shop, made by a fellow gypsy Green City purveyor Nancy Silver.

Pasta Puttana's shop is located at 1407 W. Grand and is open Wednesday through Friday 1-7 pm and Saturdays 11 am-6 pm. At the shop, Volpe stocks local meats (great for quick sauces or sides), finishing oils and vinegars, artisan salt and pepper, Spanish anchovies, farmers market greens (pre-blanched in fennel stock, as a quick cold salad) and as she finds products that work with the pasta, she'll carry them too. Current pasta varieties are: Seasonal Herb (which changes twice weekly), Roasted Squash, Wild Mushroom, White Wine, Whole Wheat, Roasted Beet, Fiery Red Chile, Golden Egg. In a few weeks she'll start selling handmade filled pastas from the shop as well.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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