Salumeria Rosi, Chef Cesare Casella, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, Recommendations, Restaurant Listing, Where to eat on the upper west side, Italian, Salami, Salumeria, Dean of Italian Culinary Academy, Import Business, Republic of Beans, Cookbook, Diary of a Tuscan Chef, Italian Cooking for Dummies, True Tuscan, Swami of Salami


Chef Cesare Casella has become a very well-respected chef in the New York dining scene, since he moved here in the early 1990’s. But he also smells good. Apparently for the past three decades, Cesare has always had a sprig of rosemary in his top pocket. It’s an affable signature to have.

Chef Casella also happens to know his way around a kitchen. His first foray into the culinary scene was helping his mother at their trattoria, Vipore, outside of Lucca, Italy. When he took over as the restaurant’s chef, they earned their first-ever Michelin star rating. When he came to New York, he worked alongside chef Pino Luongo at Cocco Pazzo. Cesare went on to open his own restaurants, Beppe and Maremma, and in 2008, he opened Salumeria Rosi on the Upper West Side.

He is currently the Dean at the Italian Culinary Academy and owns an import business, Republic of Beans.

Please tell us the philosophy behind Salumeria Rosi?

The philosophy behind Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto is the joint venture between me and the Rosi family. The Rosi family has produced high-quality salumi in Italy for generations. They are as passionate about pork as they are tradition.

I’m equally as passionate about creating a truly Italian gastronomical experience with pork and other true Italian products in an effort to promote a true Italian lifestyle and experience!

In opening Salumeria Rosi, the Rosi family and I hope to share with you a part of life deeply-rooted in Italy, and especially in their hometowns of Lucca and Parma respectively. They have teamed up to create a special menu of prepared foods and dishes, typically found in salumerie across Italy. A visit to one's local salumeria is considered a daily ritual for most Italians and Salumeria Rosi hopes to become the same for New Yorkers.


As an Upper West sider, how did you decide to open up Salumeria Rosi in the neighborhood?
I thought this concept was something that was missing on the UWS and in NYC generally. The location is great. So I found a great partner and we opened. There is so much of a wonderful neighborhood vibe here and I knew the UWS was the right place.


Tell us about your import business, Republic of Beans?
ROB is a business I put together to sell heirloom Italian beans. When I first came to NYC, I could find almost all the ingredients I used to utilize in Tuscany except the beans. So I started to bring them in from Italy and so many friends, chefs, etc. were asking about the beans. How do we get them?  Where do we find them? I decided to bring the beans over in greater quantity to allow other restaurants in NY enjoy them. So I set up the ROB business to be able to share the delicious, refined quality of Tuscan beans with the world!


Are there other Italian products, not readily available in the states, that are on your wish list?
We are able to find a lot of good Italian products here in the States. But when I think about true Italian products, you have to understand the true quality of such products in order to know where to look! I am working on a new book called True Italian - Materia Prima to help people know what to look for in the States. One thing I wish I could bring here though is the same day fresh fruits and fish. The fish found in Italy is more fresh than anything you can find here in America.

How do you think Italian cuisine has changed in New York since you first started cooking here in 1993?
It has changed a lot. The entire culture of Italian food and the modern Italian lifestyle in NY has grown and progressed. People have so much more knowledge of food and the ingredients. It's so important to understand the ingredients and culture to be able to really grasp Italian cooking. I think the internet has done a lot to make this information and knowledge available to New Yorkers now in a way that it wasn't in 1993.


A lot of chefs we interview cite Pino Luongo for his authentic Italian cooking. What are some of the key things you’ve learned from working with him?
Pino Luongo is one of the few Italian chefs that teach Americans HOW to eat Italian food in a modern culture. In the 90s he made Italian food fun and intriguing. But he did it with the right way of cooking. He brought a lot of talented chefs from Italy that have stayed in the US. Personally, I learned how to understand the American diner. I learned from Pino how to approach Americans with Italian food in a way that would not be intimidating or overwhelming, while still being traditional and real. He taught me how to keep it interesting for New Yorkers.


You worked along side your mother at your family’s trattoria, the Michelin rated Vipore, in Tuscany.  Was there ever a time when you thought you should hire your mother to come to New York as your sous chef?

I would rather be my mom's sous chef. I spent 4 years in cooking school in Italy. I did a different master program. And still, I learned more from my mom than I have ever learned anywhere else. I would happily be HER sous.


You always have your signature sprig of rosemary in your top pocket, ever thought of changing it up with a different herb?

No. I changed FROM a mixed bouquet TO rosemary. Maybe someday I'll change, but for now I think rosemary is just to sensual and sexy to let go.  Maybe someday I'll find something else that's sexier than rosemary.

Who are the purveyors that inspire your creativity? 
My favorites are the farmers, the butchers, the fishermen. In NY, I admire the farmers who have the passion to grow the most beautiful, plump, flavorful vegetables.  I respect the butchers who put so much intricate skill into providing fine meats. I appreciate the skill, patience and commitment of the fishermen who provide quality fish that are rich in flavors and nutrients. These are the people who inspire me because I try to always work from a place of passion, intricacy and patience in my recipes. The cheese maker that you might visit will treat his animals lovingly because he understands that without keeping them clean, healthy and happy, they will not produce milk of a quality that creates the best cheeses.  These are my inspiration. 


What is your least favorite new culinary trend and why?
My least favorite new culinary trend is ANY trend of the moment. There are culinary fads, just as there are fads in fashion, exercise, diets, etc. People are often looking for shortcuts, often without care for how their shortcut will damage the integrity of both the ingredients and the professional, passionate chefs who use them. Most culinary trends are motivated by marketing strategy and cost savings, which can be viewed as insulting to the products that go into creating beautiful dishes.

Do you have a go-to knife, gadget or ingredient that you would advise a home cook to stock?

Rosemary. When you have rosemary in your life, you have sensuality in your cooking.


What are the least “chefy” and most “chefy” things you like to eat and why? 
Least Chefy: I love to eat my daughter's gummy vitamins. They make these delicious gummy children's vitamins. I snack on them.

Most Chefy: The most chefy thing I love to eat is sliced culatello. 

Who else in your field is doing interesting things that you think should deserve more praise?
Mark Ladner is very interesting. I think he is a chef who has great vision and creativity. He cooks Italian in a different dimension that we are used to seeing. He cooks with potentially even more passion than me. He does so much research about the food and culture which, when added to his actual culinary proficiency and skill, makes him a very exciting young chef with tremendous promise.


Any exciting projects in your future?
I am writing a book called True Italian - Materia Prima. It's about Italian ingredients and includes recipes. It talks about how to recognize and use true Italian ingredients from local stores and vendors. It discusses the union between the producer, the vendor and the consumer. The book addresses the importance of being attentive to the ingredients above all.  We will include the perspectives of my friends who are producers, vendors and consumers and will answer questions about the ingredient foundation of great Italian food.


Won’t break the bank, but has killer food and why?
Boqueria: it's a fun place, the food is great and the atmosphere is wonderful!


Off the beaten track places to eat, that you’d be excited to take an adventurous eater?
Devi: it's this great Indian place I know run by two brothers. You can enjoy great Indian flavors with really good service. I just went last week and had an incredible tasting menu. Each course was paired with an Indian inspired cocktail.   



Chen's Pizza.  It's the pizza my daughter makes at home. It's my favorite. 
Today there are SO MANY pizzeria it is really an overwhelming market to try and choose. I wish I could find true Chicago style pizza here in NY.  I like different styles from thin and crispy to Napolitana to grilled.

Authentic Italian?
Other than Salumeria Rosi?  There are such a wonderful restaurant presence for Italian food and culture in NY. Even restaurants that are not exclusively Italian fall into this category. 

Del Posto


SD 26


These are all great places for true, authentic Italian food.


Great wine list?
I love the wines at The Four Seasons restaurant. Their wine list is exhaustive and beautifully put together.

Top five restaurants (other than your own restaurants, fancy or casual) and what dishes you liked?

Del Posto: the dishes here change so much because Mark Ladner is great about keeping everything seasonally appropriate. One of my favorite restaurants, but I can't pick just one dish.

Four Seasons Restaurant: Crab Cakes

Morimoto: there are too many....

I am too hungry now to think of more!


Penne Con Favoli (Penne with Crab Meat)

Recipe Courtesy of Cesare Casella

In Italy, it’s difficult to get precooked crab meat, so for a recipe like this, we boil the crabs ourselves in vegetable broth and tomatoes, then remove the meat and add it to the tomato sauce.  This makes a tastier sauce, but the procedure is such a headache, I suggest you start off with cooked jumbo lump or backfin crab meat.


4 servings as an appetizer


- 3 quarts water

- 1/2 pound penne pasta

- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste

- 2 1/2 cups cooked jumbo lump or backfin crab meat, picked over to remove cartilage

- 1 1/4 cups crushed canned tomatoes

- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves


In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and the penne.

Place the olive oil, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan and sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes, salt and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the crab and cook another 5 minutes.  When the penne is very al dente, drain the and add it to the sauce.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the black pepper and serve.


Upper West Side


283 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10023 (view map)

T: 212.877.4800 (make a reservation)



Counter Service

Daily: 11am - 10pm

Dining Room

Sun - Thu: 12pm - 10pm

Fri - Sat: 12pm - 11:30pm


Cesare Casella’s recommendations on where to eat in Manhattan, Queens, Rome.

Cesare Casella’s recommendations on where to eat in Manhattan, Queens, Rome.

Diary of a Tuscan Chef

Purchase at: Amazon


Italian Cooking for Dummies

Purchase at: Amazon

True Tuscan

Purchase at: Amazon