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Informal Italian dining on Long Island: 3 picks

Colorful antipasto is served at Blue Moon Pizzeria

Colorful antipasto is served at Blue Moon Pizzeria in Rockville Centre. Credit: Michael E. Ach

If there's one type of restaurant sure to open in your neighborhood, it will be the casual Italian eatery, home of pizza, pasta and possibilities. Here are three standouts.

EMILIO'S, 2201 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-462-6267,

The standby for very good pizzas and pastas also comes through with eggplant rollatine, assorted Parmigianas, the stuffed artichoke and the "mamma mia" meatball appetizer, which includes ricotta, roasted peppers and garlic bread.

BLUE MOON, 26 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre; 516-763-4900

The coal-oven pizzas would be reason enough to visit Blue Moon. But you'll also be partial to the panini; penne with escarole, chicken and hot cherry peppers, chicken scarpariello with sausage, calzones, garlic bread with mozzarella, and pasta e fagioli.

CAFE LA STRADA, 352 Wheeler Rd., Hauppauge, 631-234-5550

Reliable and full-flavored, Cafe La Strada will make winter retreat with its escarole and beans, pasta e fagioli, and minestrone, polenta and sausages, tripe with prosciutto, tomatoes, potatoes and peas, cannelloni, and pasta Bolognese.

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