Appetizers and small bites.


Roasted Peppers

Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers grew in abundance in my father’s garden, thriving on the heat and humidity of the long New Jersey summers. I was surprised to learn that some people don’t realize that green peppers and red peppers are in fact the same—they start green and turn red when they ripen. They’re […]

Antipasti, Holidays

Pizza Rustica

Another traditional Easter dish is the pizza rustica. Although I often serve this as an appetizer, traditionally it’s made on Easter morning so you can have something to serve to anyone who drops by to wish you a happy holiday. After 40 days of lent, the salame would’ve been a welcome change of pace. There’s […]


Stuffed Mushrooms

These will fill your house with the most delectable aroma! We typically served these at Easter and Thanksgiving—though they’re great any time of year. In fact, whenever I see huge mushrooms at the market, I generally can’t resist. As with all stuffed dishes, you can add whatever you have in the fridge. In this case, […]


Mozzarella in Carrozza

After graduating college, I worked in an Italian restaurant to save up money for a trip to Europe. The restaurant was new, and they needed staff. I exaggerated my qualifications—because I didn’t have any—but I spoke some Italian to the chef/owner during our brief interview. So he hired me as a busboy. After a few […]

Antipasti, Holidays, Insalate

Octopus Salad

When I was a kid, we never heard of the Feast of Seven Fishes. It was simply Christmas Eve. It was held at my grandparents’ house in Brooklyn. The place was not very big, and had no formal dining room. Instead, they’d set up a table in the living room. And by table I mean […]