cover image Rustic Italian Food

Rustic Italian Food

Marc Vetri with David Joachim. Ten Speed, $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58008-589-2

This follow-up to 2008’s Il Viaggio Di Vetri, Philadelphia chef and restaurateur Vetri has a fairly defined scope. The emphasis is on old-school specialty skills like bread baking and pasta making, preparing charcuterie and preserving vegetables. It’s rustic as in “handcrafted,” not rustic as in “easy.” Mortadella pizza includes homemade dough and handmade lamb mortadella. Beef speck requires a four- to five-month process. The results, in dishes such as veal cannelloni with a porcini bechamel, amaretti semifreddo with chocolate sauce, and candele with a duck Bolognese are exquisitely worthwhile, if arduous to achieve. There are some simpler, rustic-as-in-easy pleasures, too, such as an escarole gratin with raisins and parmesan cheese; slow-roasted lamb shoulder, and Jewish-Roman-style fried artichokes. Vetri is an opinionated, authoritative guru whose carefully honed recipes inspire confidence. While it’s not for the casual cook, his collection will certainly appeal to home stunt chefs and anyone looking to deepen their knowledge about traditional techniques. Photos. (Nov.)