You'd have to be half dead not to perk up when Credo's sedanini alla Credo ($18) ― a large bowl draped with baked pizza dough ― comes to the table. To 65-year-old executive chef Mario Maggi, watching diners cut back the bread sheath to reveal steaming tomato-and-cheese laden noodles probably never gets tired. He's kept the dish in his bag of tricks through decades of work at Italian restaurants around the world. Though he tweaks the pizza-pasta marriage according to local peculiarities, folks in Istanbul, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, Korea, and Florida have all warmed to the starchy beacon, Maggi recounts with a laugh, except for diners in Spain.
Here in the FiDi, he subs sausage-studded sedanini rigati for the shellfish pasta he was using at Bella Brava in St. Petersburg, Fla., before his cross-country move for Credo's January opening. A supplier in Chicago custom-makes the Southern Italian-style links flavored with hot pepper and just a touch of fennel. Other sedanini ingredients: tomato sauce, pancetta, sage, pepperoncini, Pecorino Romano, and the tubular pasta that gives the dish its name.
Some liken the dish to timpano, centerpiece of the 1996 film Big Night. Though just as dramatic, sedanini is Maggi's own creation, inspired by pasta variations cooked al cartoccio ― in parchment ― across Southern Italy. Though Maggi would've liked to cook his sedanini in a wood-burning oven, the Credo space didn't rate the necessary permit, so Maggi has settled for gas. Even so, sedanini trumps every other dish on Credo's menu.
Credo 360 Pine (at Leidesdorff), 693-0360