The idea of a pizza meal in Italy is a kind of casual and quick dining to be enjoyed with family and friends. That’s what proprietors and friends Enrico Mercatili and Roberto Priora had in mind when they created Fornace Stella in Piazza Lecce (a short distance from Piazza Bologna). The place is big enough, accommodating about a hundred patrons but without making you feel the vastness of the space because the tables are distributed in four well-insulated and cozy rooms that absorb excessive noise. With the architecture of Strato and consultancy of Laurenzi Consulting, known for their excellent works in other Roman restaurants, Fornace Stella is able to provide a cozy ambience in its maze of four beautifully designed welcoming spaces.
At Fornace Stella, the food menu is ample with different proposals that can cover a lot of cravings like salumi and cheese platters, fried appetizers, crostini, calzoni, bruschetta, soups, pasta, risotto, fish, meat, vegetable side dishes and desserts. But over everything, pizza plays protagonist on the table.
Their pizza dough was conceptualized by Giancarlo Casa, an accomplished Roman master pizza maker who has already made an important name for himself in the world of pizzas at the capital.
The dough reconciles the crunchiness of the Roman pizza with the softness of the Neapolitan pizza.
This is realized starting at a 48-hour leavening period at natural and controlled temperatures to reach the right kind of maturation with a hydration of 62%. White flour is used with a small percentage of wholemeal flour, oil salt, water and a minimal amount of brewer’s yeast. The result is an easily-digestible pizza that has the right lining of external crispiness and softness inside.
The selection of pizza toppings of the traditional white and red ones and gastronomic pizzas are always topped with tomatoes and fior di latte from the Campania region. Some of the traditional pizzas (€6.50 to €9) are Potatoes and Pancetta, Parma (fior di latte and prosciutto crudo of Parma), Margherita, Marinara, Ortolana (tomatoes, fior di latte and grilled vegetables), Diavola (tomatoes, fior di latte and spicy salame), Fiori (zucchini blossoms and salted anchovies), and Capricciosa (tomatoes, fior di latte, artichokes, mushrooms, olives, eggs and prosciutto crudo). On the other hand, some of the gastronomic proposals (€9 to €10) that use seasonal ingredients are Roma (fior di latte, rocket pesto and ricotta), Calabrese (tomatoes, smoked provola cheese, potatoes and ‘nduja), Amatriciana (amatriciana tomato sauce, fior di latte, guanciale and pecorino cheese) and Siciliana (Pachino tomatoes, fior di latte, oregano, salted anchovies, capers, olives and small artichoke leaves). Crostini are priced at €8.50 while the Calzoni are €9.50.
With regards to the other dishes available, the appetizers, there’s quite a range of entries to choose from.
Bruschette (€1.50 to €2.50) fried finger food (€1.50 to €6) of Potato Croquettes, Supplì and the Ascolana Olives (€6 for 5 pcs.) which are worth trying. There are also some delicious appetizer dishes (€6 to €7) like Potato Gateau and Aubergine Parmigiana with Basil Sauce, Smoked Scamorza Cheese with Radicchio and Crispy Guanciale. There are also Salumi and Cheese Platters at around €12. The pasta dishes comprised of the classic Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Amatriciana and Spaghetti alle Vongole are priced between €10 to €13. The second plates of meat and fish are from €14 to €18, Burgers and Fries at €11 to €13, seasonal vegetable side dishes to accompany the main courses at around €5. Desserts are at around €5 to €6.
Accompanying the dishes, Enrico and Roberto have come up with a well-selected wine menu, with importance to organic wines as well as craft beer of course, on tap and bottles.