Serious Eats: Chicago
The Vegetarian Option: Tagliatelle al Tartufo at Pensiero
The most glamorous entree at Pensiero is not a meat dish, but pasta. Your server will wheel a cart tableside and toss housemade tagliatelle along with a mix of wild mushrooms and pistachios in a wheel of Grana Padano, scraping off plenty of the grainy hard cheese to incorporate into the pasta. The tagliatelle al tartufo ($25) is finished with truffle oil and mushroom broth. Grana Padano is similar to parmesan, but more subtly nutty and less salty.
It's both decadent and comforting. The Grana Padano is also subtly nutty and less salty than Parmesan would be. It's no wonder that it's their signature dish. Even as chefs come and go and tweak the menu, the tagliatelle has remained an anchor on the menu for years and hopefully it'll stay that way.