In their new cookbook, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato describe the unlikely creation of their still-expanding, New York-based Serafina restaurant chain: While stuck on a stranded catamaran in a storm off Long Island in 1994 they swore they’d open the restaurant if they survived. The vibrantly photographed cookbook based on the restaurants’ dishes describes essential Italian ingredients, and the recipe chapters are like a menu, starting with antipasti and ending with dessert. The richest section is devoted to pasta. They provide 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 that includes cream. The pizza chapter is well-stuffed, heavy on variations of the traditional margherita. Simply roasted meats and vegetables should encourage even a beginner.
“Serafina: Modern Italian Cuisine for Everyday Home Cooking” by Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, text by Lavinia Branca Snyder, (Rizzoli, $39.95).