Porchetta at La Cecina on Hamilton Street in Worcester, MA

La Cucina Italiana, a BYOB restaurant on Hamilton Street in Worcester, hosted Worcester Foodies this month. I had eaten there before, but I was eager to try it again. The dining area is an open room with booths that surround a handful of tables. They also have some old black and white photographs of Worcester County, which is a nice accent. The dining area is homey and comforting, which to me meant the meal was about to be the same.

Our very attentive server immediately brought us bread and olive oil to enjoy as we reviewed the menu. La Cucina Italiana offers tried and true Italian favorites such as lasagna, chicken Parmesan, eggplant Parmesan, meatballs with pasta, pizza and so much more. Many of the dishes tempted me, but I chose the Porchetta from the specials listed on the blackboard.

To start, I ordered a cup of Pasta Fagioli Soup, which was served piping hot. The tender beans and pasta were as plentiful as the flavor in this rich, hearty soup. Although I did add red pepper flakes for a little spice.

The Porchetta was a popular choice in our group. The generous portion of pork was rolled and stuffed with spicy ham, salami and a mixture of cheese with cavatelli pasta and a topping of wonderful brown mushroom gravy. The meat and cheese stuffing added a zesty, spicy flavor to complement the tender pork. The mushroom dressing brought an earthy finish to each bite. Then the pork was somewhat crispy on the outside, but soft in the center.

This family-run restaurant really made us feel right at home. Our servers were extremely attentive and helpful. They were always there to replenish the water glasses and the bread basket. The rest of the service team pitched in too, which made our dining experience outstanding.

I would certainly recommend La Cucina Italiana to friends and family, especially if they are looking for a casual Italian meal at a great price.