Chicago – The Purple Pig

Oh, I ate too much. Way too much…butternut squash with brown butter, ricotta salata, and fresh pepitas. There might have been some crack mixed in with it because when my server sat it in front of me and I smelled the warm, spicy, buttery aroma, there was no stopping me to take a picture of it before I dove in.

So here I am posting a picture of a 3/4 eaten dish of food. Why? Because it was that good. So good that it deserves to be featured even in its almost completely-devoured state. While one may argue that anything enrobed in brown butter is going to be delicious, this was something special. The combination of the carmelized squash, soft but slightly crispy, with the smokiness of the browned butter, the saltiness of the ricotta salata, and the crunch of the pepitas produced a most incredibly umami. This was hands down one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten, vegetarian or not. And it was a vegetarian dish at a restaurant exalting the Pig.

I followed it up with a pork neckbone gravy that would make an Italian grandmother jealous. Delicate strands of pork neck meat swam through a thick tomato sauce with flavor that echoed summer and a richness that stood up to the windy, cold Chicago weather outside. Thick slices of grilled homemade bread were served alongside of it, and they were substantial enough to carry that delicious,  stew-like sauce from the crock to my mouth, and their crunch complimented the gravy’s soft, long-cooked texture.

But for as much homage I pay to the pig, the dish I’d get again at the Purple Pig? The squash. Hands down.

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