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Molto Pizza opens in Babylon

A Margherita pizza with sausage at Molto Pizza

A Margherita pizza with sausage at Molto Pizza in Babylon. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Babylon is becoming increasingly molto with the opening of Molto Pizza, the second village eatery from Massimiliano Gargiulo, owner of the wine bar Molto Vino.

Molto Pizza is on Deer Park Avenue about three blocks north of Molto Vino and whereas Vino’s menu leans heavily on cheese, cured meats and panini to accompany its abundant wine offerings, Pizza is a full-serve restaurant, with a small but well-chosen Italian wine list, all of it available by the glass or bottle.

In fact, Molto Pizza is a bit of a misnomer since the menu offers so much more. Many of the dishes reflect the cuisine of the coastline of Campania. Both Gargiulo and executive chef Mario Passante are from Capri, the island just off the Sorrento Peninsula. (Note: the correct pronunciation of Capri is CAH-pree.) There’s eggplant Parmesan done the Neapolitan way (baked, with no breading, with cheese and tomatoes), pennette "Aum Aum" with eggplant, smoked buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes, ziti alla Genovese (the classic Neapolitan veal-onion ragù) and scialatelli alla Nerano (handmade spaghetti with zucchini and melted Provolone del Monaco). For dessert: the great torta Caprese (a flourless chocolate-walnut tart).

There also are platters of cheese and / or salumi, burrata with prosciutto di Parma, fettuccine Bolognese and, this being Long Island, kale salad.

The menu lists three pizzas: Margherita, marinara (anchovies, no cheese) and quattro formaggio (with buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan, Gorgonzola and goat cheese) plus about a dozen toppings. Although the restaurant’s subtitle is "a coal fire pizzeria," the oven here burns mostly wood, with a little coal to raise the temperature. Gargiulo, who was a carpenter and builder before becoming a restaurateur constructed the brick oven himself; it is located up a few steps at the back of the brick-lined dining room where it assumes the aspect of a glowing altar.

Gargiulo’s first venture in Babylon was his wine shop, Solo Vino, which opened in 2010 and spawned the adjacent Molto Vino two years later. Solo Vino was shuttered initially during the pandemic and stayed closed while he put the finishing touches on the new place. He expects to reopen Solo Vino in the fall.

Molto Pizza is at 376 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-314-4412.

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