Q&A: Chris Cosentino and recipe

The meat-loving chef shares his omnivore’s delight


As executive chef of San Francisco’s Incanto restaurant, Chris Cosentino is also the co-creator of Boccalone Salumeria and a leading expert on offal cookery. He has appeared on Food Network’s Next Iron Chef America and Chefs vs. City, and debuted PIGG, a pork concept at Umamicatessen in collaboration with SBE Entertainment. His first cookbook, Beginnings, from Williams-Sonoma and Olive Press Books, launched last month.  

Why the offal direction at Incanto?

I chose to cook offal cuts because it was the right thing to do; giving respect to the animal by using all it has to offer. It is the sustainable way to eat meat. I am cooking peasant Italian food, which is based on those cuts of meat. These cuts need to shine and I wanted to help bring them back into favour again.   

I see you have about 119,000 Twitter followers. How important is social media to you and why?

I feel that social media gives the guests a direct connection with the chef. You hear what the chef is thinking and see what type of food they are cooking that day. I find that it allows my ideas and food to reach so many more people each day.  

What’s in your cookbook library?

I have more than 1,500 cookbooks and they are all very important. I just recently got a copy of Cassell’s New Universal Cookery Book. It’s from 1901 and from Alan Davidson’s library. Then, there is the Joe Beef cookbook, a must-have for everyone; it’s all about a way of life and [chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin’s] thoughts on food. 

Incanto (1550 Church St., San Francisco, Calif.; 415-641-4500)


Recipe: Bucatini All’ Amatriciana

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces Boccalone guanciale, sliced, cut into 1”x1/4” strips

1 cup red onion, julienned

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 1-inch dried peperoncino or 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons red wine

3 cups crushed San Marzano tomatoes

12 ounces bucatini

3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the guanciale and sauté until it starts to brown. Add onion and sauté until onion is translucent and the fat has rendered from guanciale, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and peperoncino and sauté until peperoncino darkens, about 2 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 6 minutes, until the liquid cooks off and the sauce darkens to a deep rich red. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return the pasta to same pot.
  5. Add tomato sauce and cheese to the pasta and toss, adding some of reserved pasta cooking liquid if it seems dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl and serve.
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