It’s no secret that Marc Vetri is my favorite chef. It’s a pretty common thing when you spend some time working in the food industry in Philadelphia since he is both renowned for being a fantastic cook, clever, interesting, inspiring, but also an amazing man to work for. I met countless people who had spent years waiting for something in one of his restaurants to open up, but they don’t open up. It’s a job you never leave. SO. Needless to say I was unbelievably excited when I found out he had another cookbook, this time based on the style of Italian cooking he highlights at his restaurant Osteria: rustic.
What makes Marc Vetri’s food so fantastic is that he cooks it perfectly without over complicating it. I still remember the first time I ordered the antipasta platter at Osteria: a large wooden platter with piles of individually cooked meats and vegetables, many of them seasoned exclusively with salt and oil so that you could taste the flavors of the food more than the seasoning. His new cookbook takes this style of cuisine and pairs it with remarkable explanations on the chemistry of cooking, the history of food, and what makes each dish unique. My first night with this cookbook I curled up in bed and read everything there was to read about bread, the importance of different kinds of yeasts (dry vs fresh vs wild), the different types of flours and their uses (what kind of wheat the flour comes from and what their gluten content is), and the different methods for rising and baking. Each section (Bread and Pizzas, Pastas, Salumi, Pickles and Preserves, Meats and Fish, Simple Vegetables and Sides, Rustic Desserts, Sauces) has an introduction equal in care, and each recipe is marked with easy to understand explanations that take a huge amount of mystery out of cooking.
From the website:
Slow-cooked meats, homemade breads, flavorful pastas…these are the traditional comfort-food classics that Italians have been roasting, baking, curing, and making in their own kitchens for generations–dishes that people actually want to cook and eat. In Rustic Italian Food, acclaimed Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri celebrates the handcrafted cuisine of Italy, advocating a hands-on, back-to-the-basics approach to cooking. Home cooks of every skill level will revel in the 120 recipes, such as sweet Fig and Chestnut Bread, rich Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi, savory Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder, and fragrant Apple Fritters. Rustic Italian Food is also an education in kitchen fundamentals, with detailed, step-by-step instructions for making terrines, dry-cured salami, and cooked sausage; a thorough guide to bread and pasta making; and a primer on classic Italian preserves and sauces. Much more than just a collection of recipes, in this book Marc Vetri connects us directly to the essence of Italian food.
Now Available at Logos:
Rustic Italian Food
Marc Vetri with David Joachim