Every summer we like to have at least one memorable family trip at the end of August, right before school starts. Last summer, it was a quick trip to Chicago. The agenda was very clear from the beginning. For my husband, it was a nostalgic trip. He wanted to visit his college and reminisce about his graduate student days. For my son and I, it was all about the food. The only regret we had was that we delayed this trip so long that we never had the opportunity to try out Charlie Trotter’s famous restaurant before it closed.
Chicago is one of those places that everyone falls in love with…at least when it’s not winter. The architecture is beautiful and the city really is full of character. Being the designated travel agent in the family, I was told to find a hotel near the Magnificent Mile with water view rooms. The only one that I could find available was the Four Seasons hotel. I had no idea how amazing the view from the room would be.
One morning, while we were looking on google maps for a place to grab breakfast, something caught my eye- Eataly! I had heard of Eataly’s New York location and had always wanted to experience this huge Italian grocery, restaurant, bakery combination. Lucky for us it was only about a half mile walk.
Our three days in Chicago, included two visits to Eataly and about four visits to various pizzerias . Two visits were definitely the minimum requirement to experience all that Eataly has to offer.
I restrained my purchases while at Eataly, since we were flying, but subsequently ordered things after coming home. One of these purchases is “croxetti” pasta from the Liguria. As per Eataly’s description, “croxetti originated in the Middle Ages, when the Ligurian nobility would imprint a coat of arms on one side of this coin-shaped pasta, and symbols on the other – most often a cross, or sometimes a stalk of wheat, as this pasta bears.”
I have been waiting for the right moment to make this unique pasta. This weekend, with fresh Spring produce in hand, I came up with a tasty and light pasta.
Use whatever fresh herbs and vegetables you can find. I used small eggplants, zucchini and carrots cut into coin shapes to mimic the pasta. The key tastemakers were fresh oregano, garlic cloves and sundried tomatoes.