Marc Vetri Yearns For A Return To 'Hands-On' Cooking

Marc Vetri, the James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of the acclaimed Vetri Ristorante, as well as several other restaurants in Philadelphia, has published his latest cookbook, Rustic Italian Food. Vetri trained in Italy, and he channels his experiences into his cooking both in his restaurant and his latest cookbook. With its unifying focus on a return to the basics of Italian cuisine, his latest is not just a collection of recipes, but a call to arms for those who still understand the value of real, honest cooking.

It seems like the perfect gift for passionate, do-it-yourself, intermediate-to-advanced cooks who have been itching to learn the art of making the basic aspects of Italian cuisine from scratch. The cookbook features sections how to make breads, salumi, pickles and preserves, and of course, pasta, starting with whole ingredients.

And sure enough, there is plenty of material to keep the gourmand/budding-amateur chef busy in the kitchen. Vetri offers detailed explanations of the techniques required to be successful at making things like biga starters, duck terrine, and soppressata calabrese all from scratch.

But with more than 120 recipes, there are also recipes that are perfect for quick and easy weeknight meals and also casual dinner get-togethers — not everything is a challenging project, to be sure. Here are a few of the more approachable ones.


Bucatini alla Matriciana
Vetri says nobody should mess around with this classic Italian pasta dish...






Halibut with Peas
Here's a simple, seasonal preparation for healthy halibut...







Rigatoni with Swordfish, Tomato, and Eggplant Fries
This fantastic seafood pasta dish was inspired by a memorable last meal in Italy...