When Chef Matteo Venini’s wife tried Stellina Pizzeria’s braised short rib sandwich, piled high with fontina cheese and potato croquettes, she found she couldn’t get every element in one bite. Her strategy? Turn the bread into a plate and eat it like a main course.
The pizzeria’s latest sandwich is personal. Venini marinates the beef short ribs for 48 hours in red wine, celery, carrots, onion, fresh herbs, and dark chocolate. “It’s a trick that my grandma taught me when I was in Italy,” he says, referring to the chocolate. “It helps kill the acidity of the wine and gives it a deep flavor.”
Venini braises the beef for up to seven hours, then vacuum seals individual portions that the restaurant heats up whenever someone orders it. This tactic keeps the meat moist. The next step is topping the short ribs with melted fontina cheese and a couple of creamy potato croquettes.
“The first time we tried it, we thought it was missing some crunch,” Venini says. The spuds provide needed texture. “It looked beautiful. It looked big. I haven’t seen it before. It’s a very meat-lovers sandwich. I grew up in a butcher shop. For me, meat is everything.”
Stellina Pizzeria is open for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m.