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Starred Review. More than a cookbook, this debut from acclaimed Philadelphia chef/restaurateur Vetri is a guide through the particular Italian cuisine and culture on which he has based his career. In brief memoir-style essays, Vetri describes the Lombardy taverna education that transformed a struggling jazz guitarist with a keen interest in his family's native cuisine into the creator of what some critics have called America's best Italian eateries. Repaying the generosity of his mentors, Vetri opens up his kitchen, too, including his signature dishes: impossibly light spinach gnocchi, sweet onion crepes and rustic stewed rabbit over polenta. Trusty sommelier Jeff Benjamin provides wine notes for each. While Vetri presumes that the reader has a fairly sophisticated palate and an expansive amount of free time to cook, Prep Ahead and Improv tips included for many dishes invite creative variations and allow for the occasional skipped step. And as exotic as veal sweetbreads with rhubarb and crispy brain Milanese might sound, dishes like a cucumber salad spiked with ribbons of preserved lemon or salt-baked whole fish lavished in a truffle-butter sauce are relatively simple. Amateur chefs may have only dreamed of having a culinary journey like Vetri's, but with this book he has given them a reliable key to turning dream into reality. (Oct.)
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"Mark Vetri has the heart and soul of an ancient and serene Italian grandmother, and his cooking shares that soul with each of the guests at his perfect and delicious eponymous ristorante in Philly. Now home cooks can get a slice of that perfection with this magnificent tome of uncompromisingly excellent yet very straightforward recipes from his heart and the hearts of Italian cooks. There is no doubt in my mind that this book will be a classic for decades--an essential for anyone who wants to cook like a real Italian at home." --Mario Batali, author of Molto Italiano
"If I were going to eat one Italian meal in America, it would be at Marc Vetri's place." --Alan Richman, author of Fork It Over
"Like Marc Vetri's food, his new book reflects a philosophy I enthusiastically embrace: honor clarity and simplicity above all, and remain true to yourself by pouring your heart and soul into each and every effort. Marc is clearly inspiring, and when I put his book down, I couldn't decide whether to race to the kitchen or book a flight to Italy!" --Patricia Wells, author of Vegetable Harvest
"There's a lot the restaurants Osteria and Vetri don't have in common. There's one very lucky thing they do. Both are helmed by Marc Vetri, whose enormous talents have brought him a widespread, fervent regard." --Frank Bruni, New York Times
"Mario Batali loves the place, and so does just about everyone else who's lucky enough to snag one of the 35 seats in this casual but rarefied room." --Gourmet (naming Vetri one of the top 50 restaurants in the country)
"everyone loves Marc's food, hospitality and philosophy: It's all about the cooks and the cooking. No pretension, just genius food." --Dana Corwin, Food & Wine
"Vetri takes Italian food to a new level in the United States." --Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle
"More than a cookbook, this debut from acclaimed Philadelphia chef/restaurateur Vetri is a guide through the particular Italian cuisine and culture on which he has based his career...Amateur chefs may have only dreamed of having a culinary journey like Vetri's, but with this book he has given them a reliable key to turning dream into reality."—Publisher's Weekly *Starred Review*