When you talk about the Philadelphia restaurant scene, you talk about high-minded Italian chef Marc Vetri and then you talk about the other guys. And this is not to say the other guys are shabby — people like Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and Jose Garces run very good restaurants that kick the pants off most of the restaurants operating in that so important city 100 miles to the Northeast. We recently got to thinking, what is Marc Vetri’s most popular bowl of pasta? The guy knows pasta. But it turns out, the answer was a bit of a no-brainer. “The dish really embodies what we do,” says the chef of his rigatoni with chicken livers, which is a best-seller at his North Broad Street restaurant Osteria. “It takes a few simple ingredients and puts them together in a way that’s innovative and totally unexpected. It’s going to be on the menu forever.”
The dish’s origin comes from Vetri experimenting in the kitchen. “We were really into making sausages at the time, and I had sent some leftover chicken livers through the grinder to see if they could work as a terrine.” The terrine didn’t quite turn out, but Jeff Michaud, who’s a longtime chef/partner, had the idea of using the minced livers to make a simple ragu and tossing it with pasta. “BOOM! It was amazing, and a new dish was born.” –Matt Rodbard
- 1 (14-ounce) box dried rigatoni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for sauce
- 8 small cipollini onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces chicken livers, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Drop in the pasta, quickly return to a boil, and cook until the pasta is tender yet firm, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta water.
- While the pasta boils, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and sage and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the chicken livers, cooking for 1 minute.
- Add a splash of pasta water, scraping the pan bottom.
- Add the drained rigatoni to the pan.
- Toss with the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and additional butter and/or pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce.
- Divide among warm pasta bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese to serve.
Dish up more rigatoni recipes from Food Republic: