DORCHESTER – Cooking is what makes Chef Jeffrey Cincotta happy. His culinary career started when he was just 14, bussing tables.
“My moment of clarity for food came when a waiter asked me to take a steak back to the kitchen. When I brought it in there I was watching a lot of organized chaos, and I was like – this looks like fun.”
Jeffry has taken all of that passion and plunked it down in Dorchester at a place called Molinari’s. Located in Adam’s Village, Molinari’s is a casual neighborhood eatery serving authentic Italian.
“I wanted to do a place with good Italian comfort food. The simplicity of it, the freshness of it, the quality of ingredients that you get to work with.”
They specialize in that quintessential Italian comfort food – pizza.
“I think it’s great that the city of Boston is turning around and starting to become known for pizza like the other big cities in the country,” he said. “It is such a simple food but it all comes down to the quality of ingredients.”
It’s all done out of an open kitchen where the star of the show is Molinari’s wood burning oven.
“We make a wood oven Neapolitan style pizza. Wood is a great way of baking pizza. It gives a great aromatic to the flavor of the dough. We work with a wood oven to 750 degrees, sometimes to 780 degrees,” Jeffrey explained. “We use all fresh ingredients. We make our own sausage. All the vegetables are fresh. The sauce is made daily.”
While they make authentic pizza, the toppings are anything but traditional. There is the Crunch Buffalo loaded up with buffalo sauce, crispy chicken, bleu cheese and thick cut scallions for added crunch; or The Sandy, topped with smoked mozzarella, wild mushrooms, truffle oil, sage and farm fresh eggs. The Spud and Hen is a potato-topped pizza that is a nod to the neighborhood.
“It’s a roasted Yukon potato and roasted dark chicken meat topping on a Parmesan cream base. It’s got a great flavor, and being in an Irish neighborhood, it’s gone over very well.”
The Scampi takes an Italian classic and throws it on a pie.
“You’re getting the garlicky flavor of the sauce. You’re getting a little lemon zest with the caramelization of the shrimp in the high temperature oven, and you’re getting the juiciness and the flavor of the tomatoes that are blistered at a high temperature,” described Jeffrey.
But nothing beats The Lucca, because it’s topped with Jeffrey’s grandmother’s meatballs.
“As a child I spent the weekends with my grandmother Ida Molinari. She didn’t speak one word of English and the woman could cook!”
Other dishes include Italian style chicken wings marinated in lemon, garlic and rosemary and roasted in the wood burning oven; a satisfying Chicken Parm sandwich pounded thin and topped with marinara and cheese; and crispy arrancini filled with imported buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto.
As much as he loves pizza, Jeffrey’s true passion is for fresh pasta.
“It’s a very simple thing to make. Eggs, olive oil, pinch of salt, some nice flour.”
You can find all of that freshness on a plate called The Sunday Dinner, reminiscent of childhood family meals, and in the hearty Pappardelle Bolognese, which might be the best you will ever taste.
“Our bolognese can definitely stack up with some of the best bologneses out there,” Jeffrey promised.
For him, playing with fresh dough on the daily is just that – play.
“I don’t look at this as work. This is a way of life; has been for years. I’ve worked a lot of hours and a lot of days. I enjoy seeing people smile, and the expressions on their face enjoying good food and good wine.”
You can find Molinari’s at789 Adams Street in Dorchester, and online at molinarispizzeria.com.
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