easy and tasty – marc vetri’s pasta with chicken liver

Never heard about Marc Vetri before I came across this recipe, but he is one of the big and serious names over there in the big country, USA when it comes to restaurants and great food.  I was visiting Philadelphia 1977 and that was when Marc was about 10 years old. Trained in Bergamo, Italy, by some of the region’s most noted chefs, Marc Vetri is the chef/owner of Vetri Ristorante, Osteria, Amis, and Alla Spina, all located in Philadelphia. Born in 1967 and opened his first restaurant in 1999.

In November 2010, Bon App tit named Amis one of the top ten places for pasta in US.


A very attractive looking man, Marc … I wonder why chefs didn’t look like him when I was around 30-35??????!!!!!

I don’t really remember how and when I came across this recipe online, but I guess I was looking for a recipe for chicken liver, that is easy to make and with few ingredients. What I understand is it published in one of Marc Vetri’s cookery books: Rustic Italian Food.


In all the versions of this recipe I read online – there is a lot … they say dried pasta – even Epicurious, but I have hard to see that a chef of his magnitude will use dried pasta (but who knows), but I’m all in favour of dried pasta and I always use it, because I would never make fresh myself and to buy ready-made fresh pasta … in my book a waste of money.

Love everything about chicken, but I don’t like minced chicken liver – I just can’t work with it. So I finely chop the liver for my version of this fabulous dish. I also like my chicken a little pink in the middle, even if it’s hard to get that when the cut is small. The first time I tried this recipe – I made it with normal size pieces of the liver – it came out great in flavour, but not in looks.

The cipollini onions I swapped for small regular onions and instead the fresh sage … I used dried. The onions I can get – but fresh sage I will struggle to find in Landskrona. Plus I added fresh garlic to the recipe.

To get a great image of the raw chicken liver was one of the hardest things  – Oscar didn’t like the object at all. It looks sickening whatever I did or whatever angle. Glad it it taste so much better than it looks. 

Rigatoni with Chicken Liver, serve 4

400 gr (14 oz) dried rigatoni
30ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, plus more for sauce
8 small cipollini onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rings – I used 2 small regular onions and chopped them
2 garlic clove (crushed)
12 fresh sage leaves or 2tsp dried sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
225 gr (8 oz) chicken livers, minced – I coarsely chopped mine
50 gr (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Prep time 15 min – cooking time 35 min

1. 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.

2. While the pasta boils, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and sage and cook until lightly browned 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the chicken livers, cooking for 1 minute.

4. Add a splash of pasta water, scraping the pan bottom.
Then add the drained rigatoni to the pan.

5. Toss with the Parmesan cheese and additional butter and/or pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce.

6. Divide among warm pasta bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese to serve

This is a fantastic quick fix dish – and if you don’t like chicken liver … use minced pork and use 50/50 sage and thyme as seasoning.  It’s also a brilliant comfort dish … it fills you up and it’s very tasty.

I hope that Marc will forgive me for the changing I have made to his recipe, but it works for me.

“Pasta doesn’t make you fat.
How much pasta you eat makes you fat.”
Giada De Laurentiis



5 thoughts on “easy and tasty – marc vetri’s pasta with chicken liver

    • I buy mine fresh on Lidl … I can crave for chicken liver at times and this dish so easy to make. Calf liver is something I really like, but so hard to get those days. I’m sure the mince will be more than fine for this recipe. Duvet hug!

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