New to Rustic Plate? Welcome welcome! So glad you stopped by!
Why focus on rustic cuisine, you may wonder, especially when fancier, awing dishes like Foie Gras Ganache with Ruby–Hued Pomegranate Gelée and Leg and Rack of Crete Senesi Goat with Smoked Morels are so often de rigueur.
I’d have to say I celebrate rustic cuisine because it’s the kind of food I want to eat every day, and it’s the kind of food my girls ask for when they’re hungry. Call it country, soul or peasant food, its flavors, colors and aromas take me to a place where smiles are bright, laughs are deep, and bellies are ecstatically full.
On this site you’ll find recipes that create what is essentially pretty simple food at its core, though I’d like to think it often looks really pretty too. Each recipe I share is tried & true, uses few and instantly recognizable ingredients, and is chock-full of thorough instructions and photographs illustrating techniques.
As a bonus, most of these recipes will appeal to an entire family’s palate.** And thank goodness for that, because who has time to make separate meals for all your loved ones? My beloved late grandmother Caterina used to humor all four of her children’s food proclivities and I believe she left her kitchen once, in 1974.
On Rustic Plate you will also find what I hope is a helpful How To section. It offers home cooks tips on a variety of topics, like how to prep vegetables for cooking, how to grate onions easily or how to pan-toast Panko breadcrumbs, how to make how to make easy ‘cheater’s’ sausage and how to make ricotta. In these pages you will also find how tos on techniques, like effective ways to fry or broil.
As you peruse Rustic Plate, you may even enjoy my banter about food and cooking and children and Brussels sprout-averse husbands and food bullies and tasty food videos and the advantages of using béchamel in lasagna. I even make a funny every now and then.
Mostly, though, I share clear, thorough road maps that lead to the kind of comforting home cooking that can only come about through fresh ingredients and good techniques. I do so hope you enjoy visiting!
Rustic Plate shares recipes that:
- offer a printer-friendly recipe card at the end of each post.
- usually take at least 45 minutes to prepare from scratch. That’s because vegetables don’t magically wash themselves and chicken breasts don’t fillet themselves into cutlets like they do on those 30-minute meal cooking shows. While I’ve tried my share of 15- and 30-minute recipes, particularly when my girls were toddlers and I was harried, I found them all wanting in taste or wholesomeness or both. The ones that actually turned out well sold me the Brooklyn Bridge because they took…you guessed it…at least 45 minutes to prepare. If you are in a rush, though, I can offer two exceptionally tasty and fast dishes, here and here.
- require few ingredients, usually 10 or less. I don’t know about you, but my eyes start to gloss over when I see a recipe with a gazillion ingredients. I guess I must have a short attention span, and I’m ok with that. Rustic cooking is about simplicity and creating tasty and comforting flavors using just a few key ingredients. I even have a 2-ingredient dessert, if you can believe it, and it’s a keeper!
- create flavors that generally appeal, through straight-forward simplicity and scrumptiousness, to all members of the family, big and small** I know I’ve already made this point, but it is so important to me. I believe we can feed children without resorting to making separate meals for them. While spicy foods and salads may understandably not appeal to young children’s palates, everything else is fair game. The key is making simple food taste good. Really good. I’ve had remarkable success to that end with many dishes. In particular with this, this, and this other one.
I’ll end with my favorite quote from epic Marcella Hazan. It reflects how I feel about food. And not just Italian fare, because I think Mrs. Hazan’s words can be applied to the rustic cuisine of any culture. I read this passage often, particularly after watching yet another cooking competition where some poor bloke has been tasked with creating a winning dish using fish sauce, marshmallows and a goat’s spleen.
“There is no such thing as Italian haute cuisine because there are no high or low roads in Italian cooking. All roads lead to the home, to la cucina di casa (to a home’s kitchen).”
Thanks for visiting!
**DISCLAIMER: I have met children who have parents that are terrific cooks but who nevertheless faint at the sight of a roasted carrot on their dish. Sometimes the monkey can’t be tamed. But those kiddos notwithstanding, I believe most of the savory, earthy and sweet flavors found in Rustic Plate are geared for even the youngest of palates.