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You wouldn't know it from this week's weather -- not to mention the forecast for Sunday -- but spring has officially arrived, and Vito Racanelli Jr. of Mad Tomato (8000 Carondelet Avenue, Clayton; 314-932-5733) has a spring in his step -- and on his menu, too, as the Italian restaurant's spring menu debuts this weekend. Of the new dishes, Racanelli tells Gut Check he's most excited about the chitarra pasta with artichokes.
"I'm actually making true chitarra," he says. "I'm not extruding it and caling it chitarra. That's spaghetti."
"It's a wooden chitarra, the real thing," Racanelli says of the device that he found online. Strings that resemble those of the Italian musical instrument of the same name cut the pasta into individual strands. "You sheet out the pasta, then you push it through with a rolling pin."
Inspired by the stuffed artichokes that his mother used to make, Racanelli is tossing the chitarra pasta with artichokes, olives, olive oil and bread crumbs.
"It's simple, but beautiful."
The chitarra with artichokes costs $14.
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