Pig Out at Ristorante Francesca's Forno

Like pork? Like pigging out on it? Those are hypothetical questions, because the answers are obviously yes. In which case you need to get yourself to Francesca's Forno in Wicker Park this week to partake in their Festa Di Maiale, ake feast of the pork, aka nothing else matters, taking place November 14 through November 16.

Francesca's Forno
Eat Pig Here

Pork takes center stage throughout the special menu, ranging from cichetti and antipasti to pasta and secondi. All dishes are the handiwork of newly appointed corporate executive chef Peter DeRuvo, a man with a fantastical background working in Tuscany and tending olive groves in Montecastelli. Sigh. He studied throughout Italy to hone his culinary chops, working at such places as the revered Casalta Ristorante. His return to the states bodes well for us lovers of Italian food in Chicago, now that he's at the helm of Francesca's Forno.

DeRuvo's special pork menu begins with cichetti (tapas-like small plates popular in Venice) such as mortadella bruschetta, pork arancini, and Mediterranean mussels with soppressata, vino blanco, and spicy marinara. Antipasti includes crispy pig ears with winter greens, farm egg, and pickled cherry peppers; local roasted baby carrots with pork fried almonds, goat cheese, and arugula; and spiced pork belly with smoked white beans, fig mostarda, saba, and crushed filberts. Move on to pastas such as buccatini amatriciana, whole-wheat spaghetti with tiny pork meatballs, and raviolini stuffed with ricotta and brodo di prosciutto. Heftier secondi plates include stuffed whole-roasted pig, Berkshire loin of pork saltimbocca, and St. Louis-style ribs braised in balsamic with cavallonero. Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant will feature whole-roasted suckling pig stuffed with fall fruits, prunes, apricots, and winter greens between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.