Italian comfort food: Ricotta gnocchi

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/ Source: TODAY
By By Phil Lempert

This week’s recipe, stolen from chef Eric Young of Scoozi! restaurant in Chicago, is a warming bowlful of delicious Italian gnocchi made with rich ricotta cheese and adorned by Eric’s Bolognese sauce. Every chef in an Italian restaurant has his or her own closely guarded Bolognese recipe, and we’re sharing Eric’s with you to try at home — until you can make it to the Windy City to try it for yourself from his busy kitchen. For more than 20 years Scoozi! has fed Chicago, and the menu features seasonal, fresh-tasting creations from all over Italy — from Sicily to the Austrian border and everything in between.

This big, open-spaced restaurant features brick-oven pizzas and pastas imported from Italy or made fresh and offers more than 30 wines by the glass, as well as Italian specialty cocktails and cordials made in-house from fresh fruit. There’s something for everyone at the bar.

About the chef: Since his childhood on the north side of Chicago, Eric has always been passionate about food. The thought of working in restaurants, however, was nothing more than a pipe dream for this 29-year-old technology manager, but Eric’s boredom mixed with his passion for food and set a career change in motion. Eric began taking part-time classes and was fortunate enough to be enrolled in some taught by chef Michael Lachowicz. It wasn’t long before he realized this was the career for him. After one semester, he quit his long-time job, enrolled full time at Kendall College and began working for Lachowicz at his newly opened restaurant, Michael. After working for months under the tutelage of Lachowicz, Eric took an internship at Follia, where he began to cultivate his knowledge of Italian cuisine. Eric graduated in the top of his class and received the Albert R. Furbay award for culinary excellence. 

Upon completing his studies, Eric came across a job at Scoozi!, where he was eager to work on his development in a high-volume setting. After several months, Eric was approached and asked to take on the job as chef of the 21-year-old Chicago dining staple. Eager to take on a new challenge, Eric accepted and began working to take the cuisine at Scoozi! to a new standard. 


Chicago, River North

410 W. Huron

Chicago, IL 60654


Potato and ricotta gnocchi with Bolognese sauce is served at Scoozi! for $13.50.

Ricotta gnocchi

Eric Young, Scoozi! restaurant

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