Cafe 5: Chef Mark Sparacino's Orecchiette Tartufate Recipe

Monday marks the beginning of Restaurant Week by River North (RWxRN), a week-long event highlighting culinary offerings of the popular Chicago neighborhood.

Participants can try specially priced prix-fixe menus and limited-edition dishes from several restaurants including Tortoise Supper Club, Sunda, GT Prime, LYFE Kitchen, Wildfire and more.

One of those menu items is orecchiette tartufate from Prosecco, prepared by chef Mark Sparacino. Here's a look at how that's prepared -


5 Ounces – Fresh/Dry Orecchiette

2 Cups – Heavy Whipping Cream (36%-40%)

3 Ounces – Dry white wine

6 Medium - Cremini mushrooms, quartered

5 Spears – Asparagus, cut into one inch pieces

3 Halves - Sun-dried tomatoes, julienned

1 Tablespoon – Truffle paste

2 Cloves – Garlic, minced

Drizzle – White truffle oil

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 Tablespoon – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ Tablespoon – Italian parsley, chopped



Blanch and shock asparagus, reserve the water for sun-dried tomatoes. Pour 3 ounces of hot asparagus water over sun-dried tomatoes; steeping for 15-25 minutes (depending on the dryness of tomatoes). Strain tomatoes. Sauté cremini mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set all three ingredients to the side.

In a 10 inch sauté pan, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and garlic, sauté for 1 minute, add cremini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Sautee for another 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic starts to lightly brown. Deglaze with white wine, turn heat up to high and allow to reduce most of wine. Add the heavy whipping cream, truffle paste and ½ teaspoon of salt, allow cream to reduce by 50%. Add asparagus, turn heat off and set aside.

In boiling salted water, (should taste like the ocean). Cook according to directions on package, or desired texture. Pasta should be cooked al dente (slightly undercooked) as pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. Bring truffle sauce back to a simmer while pasta is cooking. Strain pasta – DO NOT RINSE! Add directly to sauce, stirring 1 to 2 minutes until pasta is well coated and sauce well reduced. Finish with parsley, drizzle of truffle oil and shaved Grana Padano, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Complete menus and more information can be found here.

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