The appeal of a refined risotto Milanese and a subtle tortellini and brodo is basic. But the heartier, soulful fare found deeper in the provinces sings to you, too. Here are some rustic dishes at local restaurants that do just that.
La Tavola "Italian wedding soup" with kale, escarole, meatballs; and rice balls with fennel, sausage, provolone. 183 W. Main St., Sayville; 631- 750-6900, latavolasayville.com
King Umberto Polenta al forno; risotto cakes with Gorgonzola cheese; stuffed artichoke with olives, capers, pine nuts. 1343 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont; 516-352-3232, kingumberto.com
Cafe La Strada Escarole-and-beans soup; roasted peppers with anchovies and capers. 352 Wheeler Rd., Hauppauge; 631-234-5550, cafelastradarestaurant.com
La Bussola Grilled sausages with sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms; grilled octopus with pesto and potatoes. 40 School St., Glen Cove; 516-671-2100, labussolaristorante.com
Mamma Lombardi's Seafood fritto misto, pasta piselli, penne arrabbiata. 400 Furrows Rd., Holbrook; 631-737-0774, mammalombardis.com
Tesoro Baked clams oreganata, mozzarella in carrozza and housemade manicotti. 967 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-334-0022, tesorosrestaurant.com