Tuscan Influence Stirs Up New Directions at Carlucci Rosemont

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Negroni updates Carlucci's menu regularly -- including daily specials according to what's in season. With location next to the Rosemont Convention Center and attracting world-savvy clientele, the pressure is always on to cook up something great -- and Tuscany's traditions keep feeding the restaurant's success. Newly upgraded décor and a renewed service commitment add to Carlucci's upscale Tuscan dining presence. Ranked among Chicago's top 50 restaurants and perennial "Critic's Choice" award-winner by Chicago Magazine, Carlucci is a trendsetting force on the Chicago and world restaurant scene. For more information about Carlucci's Tuscan experience or to make reservations, contact Carlucci Rosemont at 6111 North River Road, Rosemont, Illinois 60018. Phone: 847.518.0990. http://www.carluccirosemont.com.

In the face of increased ethnic dining choices and thanks to master Italian chef Luigi Negroni, Carlucci has revisited its menu to hone in on authentic Tuscan-style foods. From tender Fiorentina T-bone steak, pappardelle pasta and robust wines down to Pecorino DiPienza cheese shavings, Carlucci has infused true tastes of Tuscany into an already award-winning menu. In many cases, diners might not notice the subtle changes, but according to Carlucci owner Graziano Berto, "We've raised our standards on serving the freshest foods and in pleasing the palates of world-class customers."

According to master chef Luigi Negroni, "We're going back 2,500 years. The food reflects what comes from the land." Trained at San Domenico, one of Italy's top five restaurants, Negroni brought his gourmet talents to America in the early 1980s. He began in San Francisco's top Italian restaurants then came to Carlucci in 1991. Negroni since has become a culinary trendsetter. Creating menu items based on the season, he is firm about serving only what's fresh. "You can find the same food 365 days a year on the international market," he explains, "but it doesn't always taste good." Rather, he says, for authenticity, he tries to serve only what's in season. Those foods might include beef from a special breed of Chianina cow, cheese from the best available sheep's milk, wild game, mushrooms, and other delicacies. Fall, he says is particularly fruitful, when rain in Tuscany enhances the harvest.

Negroni also blends traditional Italian ingredients, using extra virgin olive oil from Umbria, Italy, and pasta, a staple throughout the country. He's fused the best of old and new worlds in Carlucci signature dishes. Linguini nel Parmigiano is among customers' favorites both for presentation and taste. Tossed tableside in a hollowed cheese wheel, linguini pasta is perfectly paired with butter, fresh basil and Prosciutto de Parma (Italian ham). "Even if it's roasted chicken," Negroni notes, Carlucci prepares it with utmost precision, slowly roasting it over a spit, which requires time and attention. The typical Bolognese (meat) sauce simmers for as much as five hours. "It's simple, but you have to care for it," Negroni explains.

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ROBYN KONLON

Dor Lawson
Konlon & Asso., Inc.
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