In their new cookbook, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato describe the unlikely creation of their still-growing New York-based restaurant chain Serafina: While trapped on a beached catamaran in a storm off Long Island in 1994, they vowed to open the restaurant. if they survived. The vividly photographed cookbook, based on the dishes of the restaurants, describes essential Italian ingredients, and the recipe chapters are like a menu, starting with antipasti and ending with dessert. The richest part is devoted to pasta. They offer fusilli con pesto alla Genovese, which classically includes green beans and potatoes; some minimal but effective combinations of spaghetti with bottarga and penne with butter and sage; and a cheater’s carbonara with cream. The pizza chapter is well stocked, heavy on variations of the traditional margherita. Simple roasted meats and vegetables should encourage even a novice.
“Serafina: Modern Italian Cuisine for Everyday Home Cooking” by Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, text by Lavinia Branca Snyder, (Rizzoli, $39.95).