Fiorentini al Sugo at Apolonia in Chicago, IL. I love great pasta, and this house made, tomato-based pasta dish is so special, I had it three times during the week I was in Chicago. The sauce is what sets this dish apart, getting its dark, rich and smoky flavors from a combination of molasses, chipotle jalapeno peppers in adobo, and liquid smoke (a natural product made from condensing the smoke from burning wood). The pork neck sausage used in this dish is delicious, and comes from Catalpa Grove Farm, a local but nationally recognized farm known for their sustainably raised meat. Finished with just the right amount of stracciatella cheese, parsley, and fried garlic. I love the house made chili oil drizzled on top, which along with the peppers give it a very slight kick, but for those against spice, I wouldn’t consider the dish spicy overall. Newly opened (April 2021) in a bright, open, and contemporary space in the South Loop, Apolonia has a great menu with a European/Mediterranean flair. Super friendly and knowledgeable staff with great service. I also love their warm calamari salad (simply amazing), salmon tartare, and grilled branzino. Don’t miss this dish if you’re ever in Chicago!!