Ragù alla napoletana Photos: Jeff Marini

At Monteverde, pasta is everything. Chefs in the mirrored open kitchen can be seen working flour and wheat and whey. You can watch others rolling dough and feeding it into the extruder, and still others draping noodles to dry them on racks adjacent to the butcher-block bar or selling the final product by the host stand. Though only nine pasta dishes appear on the menu, they’re all enchanting, from the smoky, wok-fried tagliolini in an arrabbiata sauce to the tender tortellini nestled in a bowl of limpid chicken broth.

Three years after its opening, Monteverde remains one of the toughest tables to get in town. The location makes it a natural pre- and post-game draw for United Center visitors, and the menu is dotted accordingly with highly snackable antipasti, including a justly popular fegatini Calabrese (tomatoey wok-fried chicken livers atop polenta). But the menu also contains feast-worthy main dishes, including the ragù alla napoletana: a massive tomato-braised pork shank served with thick cacciatore sausages and monster soppressata meatballs. Naturally, it comes with pasta.

Chef Sarah Grueneberg