There’s a new spot south of Boston for authentic Italian, where every single sauté pan is cooking up something sensational. Which is why you need to stop at La Stalla.
Located along busy Washington Street in Stoughton, La Stalla Osteria & Bar is bright and airy, with warm woods and homey décor. And the food here is a far cry from your standard suburban Italian restaurant, thanks to Chef/Owner Nicola Battistacci, who moved here from Italy six years ago, bringing family recipes, old world techniques, and a respect for ingredients with him.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “It is a real traditional Italian restaurant. So we’re trying to follow the philosophy of Slow Food. It’s against the Fast Food. So it means taking care of the ingredients, where they come from, how they’re treated, and the technique how we’re cooking.”
So he gets as much as he can from local farms, uses only the highest quality meats, and never cuts corners in his scratch kitchen.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “The kitchen is a scratch kitchen. That means everything is made here. We bake a daily bread and focaccia. We make everyday pasta. And we use really high quality ingredients. The food is really rustic, but really well made.”
So Phantom stopped in and sampled it all, in search of the Perfect Meal.
Starters at La Stalla include fresh toasted bread, topped with warm local ricotta, and luxurious truffle honey. For something a little more exotic, try the Octopus served with Jerusalem artichoke, and salsa verde. Of course the top selling way to start your meal here is with the Polpette della Nonna.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “Every grandmother, every mother makes meatballs, and we make like grandmother and my mother made like when I was in Italy. We use ground beef and ground pork, we bake it, and then we serve it with a house made marinara sauce and we serve with warm local ricotta on top. I think it’s the mix between the sweetness of the local ricotta, the slight acidity of the tomatoes with the marinara sauce, and texture of our meatball, it’s a great dish to start.”
And if the meatballs are a great way to start the meal, some house made pasta is definitely on order for the next course. Like the Cappellacci filled with charred squash and ricotta, and served with truffle mushrooms, and Vermont butter. If you’re in the mood for seafood, there’s Gnocchi Frutti di Mare, bursting with scallops, shrimp, and Maine lobster. But if you ask Nicola, the Rigatoni alla Carbonara reigns supreme.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “We consider in Italy the carbonara the king of the pasta. It’s one of the best pastas that we have in Italy I think, that’s my personal opinion to be honest. We use a guanciale that comes directly from Italy. We cook the pasta al dente, and we toss with the guanciale, and a farm egg, and pecorino cheese that comes directly from Italy as well.”
Just one forkful of this dish and you’ll understand why it is a must order.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “Oh the texture is unbelievable. You have an explosion of flavor. You have the creaminess made with the eggs, you have the saltiness and the crispy from the guanciale, and you have the pasta that’s cooked perfectly al dente on your mouth.”
When it comes to entrees, the Eggplant Parmigiana is always a crowd favorite, and La Stalla’s version also happens to be gluten free. Another popular option is the Veal Saltimbocca, but unlike the typical version made with a veal cutlet, this recipe uses juicy veal tenderloin wrapped with prosciutto, a twist that Nicola thinks truly elevates the dish.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “Definitely I think it’s better because if you compare the regular Veal Saltimbocca when you have a cutlet it’s really thin slice of meat, instead of eight ounces of veal tenderloin, it changes completely the texture in each bite.”
But if there’s one entrée La Stalla should be known for, it might just be the enormous slow braised Pork Shank.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “I think our signature dish is definitely the pork shank. It’s a really huge portion, it’s almost two pounds between bone and meat. We braise it in wine for like six hours, and we serve with mashed potatoes on the bottom, gravy mushroom on top, and salsa verde.”
And when this big plate hits the table, customers are always blown away.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “The first shock is how massive it is. It’s pretty impressive on the plate because it’s really really big. And then when they put the fork in and they see the meat just literally fall off of the bone, they’re really surprised, and everybody is really happy to enjoy the dish at this restaurant.”
And folks are even happier at dessert, with indulgent options like Panettone Bread Pudding with vanilla gelato, fresh filled Ricotta Cannoli with crispy shells imported from Sicily, and silky Panna Cotta with sea salt caramel and shaved almonds.
Nicola Battistacci – Chef/Owner, La Stalla: “Oh definitely the Panna Cotta is my favorite. Any bite, it’s like, it’s amazing. You have the saltiness of the caramel, the texture of the panna cotta, and the crunchy part of the toasted almond on top. It’s the best way to end the meal, definitely.”
Meatballs, Carbonara, a Pork Shank, and Panna Cotta, make for the Perfect Meal at La Stalla.