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Where to Get Particularly Perfect Pesto This Spring

A handful of local spots are taking the verdant Italian sauce in bright new directions.

Zeppo’s Meatball Achievement

Zeppo’s Meatball Achievement

Tempesta Market
Photos: Jeff Marini

As good as the meatballs are, the real achievement here is the way the creamy pesto stands up to the muscular marinara. $12. 1372 W. Grand Ave., West Town

 

Pesto gnocchi

Pesto gnocchi

RPM Italian

Ramps (used in early spring as the green base in the sauce) and aged goat cheese give the pesto for these sturdy yet light potato gnocchi a rich, oniony depth. $16. 52 W. Illinois St., Near North Side

 

Herbed potatoes with arugula pesto

Herbed potatoes with arugula pesto

Anteprima

This beloved neighborhood restaurant swapped the traditional basil for arugula, lending the sauce a peppery bite. $4. 5316 N. Clark St., Andersonville

 

Ode to Rubirosa

Ode to Rubirosa

Pizzeria Bebu

Named for an NYC pizzeria famed for its vodka-sauce pies, this homage is dolloped with a vibrant nutless pesto that packs an extra-herbaceous punch. $20. 1521 N. Fremont St., Near North Side

 

Tagliatelle with pesto and shrimp

Tagliatelle with pesto and shrimp

Reno

Reno’s version is particularly delicate — with an almost puréed consistency — and yet it holds its own against the rustic, hearty housemade pasta. $12. 2607 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square

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