Marc Vetri and I met in 1999 at his Philadelphia restaurant, Vetri, where I was dining incognito on an F&W Best New Chef recon mission. The food was astounding, as was the recipe we published when he won the award: tortellini in a sauce made with only three ingredients, combined just so—butter, truffle puree and water. Today Marc has written a new cookbook, Rustic Italian Food, and owns more restaurants (Osteria, Amis and the upcoming Alla Spina); the simple pasta recipes here reflect the restaurants' casual style. One is penne with cabbage and potatoes; Marc briefly simmers the penne in the sauce with some of the pasta cooking water to help tease out its starch and enrich the dish. It's a technique beloved by Italian cooks, and among the smart ideas in the following recipes.
Simple Pasta Recipes: Pasta Shapes to Try
Photos Courtesy of Pasta di Gragnano.