Restaurant Cookbooks

Staten Italy: Nothin’ but the Best Italian-American Classics, from Our Block to Yours

by Francis Garcia & Sal Basille

Authors Fran and Sal are two regular guys from the neighborhood, cousins and best friends, whose DNA reads garlic and oil (they’re fifth generation in the food business) and whose six hugely successful restaurants, starting with the legendary Artichoke Pizza, have impressed critics, fellow chefs, and chowhounds alike. They have written a book celebrating big flavor, along with loving (and hilarious) family stories, and rooted in the great Italian-American tradition, handed down through the generations. The recipes are unfussy…simple and fast for school nights, fancier for weekends and holidays and offer readers a transporting, full-bodied take-away, rather than just a book about spaghetti and meatballs. Here you will find Eggs Pizziaola, Pork Cutlets with Hot Peppers and Vinegar, their famous Cauliflower Fritters, and many more authentic dishes served up with gusto.

Alvaro’s Mamma Toscana

by Alvaro Maccioni, James Murphy (Photographer)

Amazon Reader’s Review: “As a customer from US, I often think of London and the wonderful food we always get at La Famiglia, I was delighted when I was there last week and found Alvaro had written a book containing many of our favorite recipes. can’t wait to start trying them at home.. The book is as delightful as Alvaro himself, no wonder he has been so sucessful for the last 30 years.”

Pane e Salute: Food and Love in Italy and Vermont

by Deirdre Heekin, Caleb Barber

Husband and wife author team and proprietors of the Pane E Salute café in Woodstock, Vt., Heekin and Barber made a pilgrimage to Italy soon after they were married, returning with recipes and voluminous travelogues. They share both in this neat little cookbook, providing easy-to-follow recipes for the simple but lovely dishes that are Italian cuisine’s hallmark, alongside essays about life in Lombardy or Tuscany. The recipes are arranged according to season: spring presents, for example, the effortless Asparagi alla Milanese (asparagus with fried eggs) and the savory Costolette d’Agnello con Caprino (lamb chops with fresh goat cheese), while fall offers La Trota all’ Erbe Gresche (trout with fresh herbs) and Torta di Mela (apple cake). While this conceit has the charms of underlining cooking’s connection to nature, it’s slightly bothersome to have to thumb through the entire book to uncover the full catalog of desserts. But that’s a minor complaint in what is, overall, a winning and well-written volume full of honest Italian cooking and memories.

Italian Comfort Food: Intensive Eating from Fresco by Scotto Restaurant

by Scotto Family (Author)

This pleasant, if slight, cookbook from the Scotto family (Fresco), proprietors of New York’s popular Fresco by Scotto eatery, serves best as a souvenir of the restaurant with recipes drawn from the Scottos’ satisfying repertoire and numerous headnote anecdotes recalling the fare they have served celebrities ranging from Bill Gates to Monica Lewinsky. Many dishes are old friends from Italian cuisine: Panzanella Salad, Penne with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Chicken Cacciatore. Even more are simplicity itself: Pasta Salad with Cannellini Beans and Arugula, Sicilian Couscous and Grilled Asparagus. Directions are concise, assuming that the reader knows how, for example, to clean an artichoke or create chocolate curls to garnish a cake. Some of the more extravagant restaurant recipes include Black Winter Truffle and Red Beet Ravioli and the sublime and nearly effortless Mashed Potatoes with Sevruga Caviar. Desserts include a Bill Clinton favorite: Praline Cookies, transformed into sandwiches with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Although their book is not a necessity, the Scottos do know how to celebrate the comforts inherent in some of the world’s favorite food.

Da Silvano Cookbook: Simple Secrets from New York’s Favorite Italian Restaurant

by Silvano Marchetto, Andrew Friedman, Scott Haas, Colin Dickerman (Editor), Nick Tosches

Restaurant Da Silvano is a small Manhattan treasure. Opened over 25 years ago by Silvano Marcchetto, it was among the first New York dining spots to offer authentic Tuscan cooking. Locals flocked there, followed by celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Paul McCartney, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Overseen by the ebullient Marcchetto, the restaurant’s cooking is now available to one and all in Da Silvano Cookbook, which presents over 120 recipes for its savory straightforward fare. This includes dishes like Linguine alle Vongole (linguine with clams), Rapini con Salsiccia (broccoli di rapa with spicy pork sausage), and Pescespade alla Veneziana (Venetian-style swordfish). The dishes, many of which are generally known, nonetheless have Marcchetto’s special touch that results in superior eating.The book offers recipes for all the courses of a typical Italian meal, from antipasti to dolci, and includes particularly winning meat and poultry formulas like that for chicken cooked in beer, a house specialty. Vegetables, too, receive their due, with dishes like fennel with Parmesan cheese. Among the sweets, the restaurant’s famed panna cotta, a toothsomely firm version, is present, and wine suggestions are offered throughout. Illustrated with color photos, many of the “master” himself, this easy-going but astute collection provides enjoyment equal to a visit to the restaurant itself.