Old Dog, New Pasta

After 29 years, Spiaggia (finally) launches a pasta tasting menu

The first thing to be said of Spiaggia's new pasta tasting menu: It's about time.

Some of the city's finest house-made pasta has graced the restaurant's white tablecloths for nearly 30 years. But there has never been a menu entirely devoted to the craft–until now.

The new six-course degustazione delle paste ($95) is an investment that pasta lovers are well advised to make. The current menu takes filled pasta as its theme, featuring agnolotti, tortellini, paccheri, corzetti and a loose, layered composition of pasta sheets.

Along the way, you'll encounter ricotta-and-pecorino-stuffed agnolotti with tarragon and black truffle, and pork-skin tortellini in meaty broth with a Jidori chicken roulade. Our favorite of the evening featured an unsealed raviolo of thin pasta disks flanking red prawns, squid and a smoky, silken pimentón-fennel sauce.

The menu's opener deviates from the stuffed-pasta theme, but no matter; three tangles of thin tagliolini, each topped with a different type of roe (osetra, steelhead trout and Arctic char), are beautifully composed bites that set the tone for the refined, indulgent procession that follows.

Come April, the theme will switch to reinvented Italian-American classics (think eggplant Parmigiana reconstructed as a sauce); in July, coastal Italian pastas will take the stage.

Be prepared to twirl and swoon.

Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-280-2750 or spiaggiarestaurant.com