Lunching at Giotto in Montclair


Penne alla Norma at Osteria GiottoEach week I invariably ask myself, “where should I have lunch today?”  Most frequently, the answer is Osteria Giotto.  Whether it’s familiar faces like Pete The Tennis Instructor, or Mariesa, the infallible waitress, or the inimitable, intoxicating aroma of Penne alla Norma - I simply can’t stop going back to Giotto!

Read the about lunch at Giotto, and a little about the history of Penne alla Norma, on Devil Gourmet!

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Eclectic-Italian at Luce Restaurant in Caldwell

Montclair offers a seemingly endless selection of restaurants, Italian ones in particular; after a while they all sort of blend together into an indistinguishable mélange of marinara sauce and meatballs. But when your palate craves something fresh and different, set your sights on Luce Italian Restaurant in Caldwell for a welcome change of pace.

An established mainstay on the Caldwell dining scene, Luce opened in 2001 by owners Joseph Capassco and Dino Vitagliano, who sought to bring the polished, contemporary dining experience of New York City to Luce.

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Easter Pie Recipe: Pizza Piena

Hot From The Kettle reader, Mario DiBiase, just sent over his mother's recipe for Italian Pizza Piena. There's a great story behind the recipe, too!

First my mother would start off by going to all the Italian delis in the neighborhood and collect the heels (ends) of assorted cold cuts - salami, prosciutto, copacola, mortadela and prusciutto cotta (ham) and D E M A N D a discount for these left over cuts that "nessuno se catta" as she said. This is a medley of meets and I've found everyone uses something different, for Mom it was what ever she got on sale or was available. These are the ones that I thought made the best pie. I've had it made from just hot and sweet dried sausage too.

Here's my families recipe - enjoy:

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Finalmente! The Prosciutto is Ready!

About twelve months ago, Lou Palma, Montclair's favorite gastro-mechanic, and I began the Prosciutto di Palma Project.  The process was well documented; from obtaining the Berkshire pig legs from Nicolosi Foods, then to curing it, pressing it, hanging it, and larding it.

Yesterday, the big day arrived and Baby Prosciutto di Palma came home! Finally, it was time to taste months of patient waiting. Lou cut into the large fat cap and revealed intensely marbleized, pink meat. 

The flavor was beyond any other cured meat I've ever enjoyed - truly a one-of-kind! The Berkshire prosciutto has a unique flavor all it's own, savory with a very mellow sweetness - you could almost taste the diet of the pig. 


One of the most noticeable characteristics of our little Baby Prosciutto di Palma is the texture.  Due to the marbleizing, a rich creamy coating is left on your lips and fingers, that makes the finish last forever!

I happened to have some store bought prosciutto on hand, so we decided to do a side by side comparison.  The store bought prosciutto not only paled in color comparison, but also in flavor and texture.

To keep the prosciutto safe and secure, and to make for easier carving, I purchased an Arcos ham holder from Amazon

The prosciutto will be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving table!  I would like to send a very special thank you to Lou Palma for sharing and teaching this unique, and valuable technique.  Thank you, Lou! 

Visit the Meat Curing page for more of Lou's pork curing mastery.




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Acappello Ristorante Grand Opening Today

Acappello Ristorante, the new kid on the Avenue, will host its Grand Opening on Thursday, November 10, from 5 pm to 7 pm. 

Acappello is owned by the same family who has operated Cara Mia (Millburn), La Campagna (Morristown) and La Catena (Bridgewater).   Needless to say – they have plenty of restaurant experience. General manager, Ben Husenaj, and his two brothers, Sal and Robert, along with their two cousins, Naz Husenaj and Dardan Mati, have used their vision and experience to work an aesthetic wonder in the space formerly occupied by Sesame. 

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