Every month, Antone's has been pairing with a local celebrity or chef to create a dish that is not only unique but provides money for local charities. So far, every one has been a winner from Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus's heavy-handed Hangover to Bun B's chicken wing spectacular.
For February, Riel chef Ryan Lachaine created an Italian classic: the Pizza Sub.
As someone who took on some of the best hoagies on the south Jersey Shore, most of them of the Italian variety, and lived to tell about it, I can tell you the Pizza Sub is an interesting and tasty addition to Antone's list of celebrity sandwiches.
The Bread Man Baking hoagie roll (unlike the traditional Royal Bakery po boy bread typically used for Antone's sandwiches) is a classic Italian style roll, crisp outside and tender inside. As much as I love Royal's classic po boy bread, this is a more appropriate choice for this sandwich because the Bread Man sub roll stands up to the saucy interior.
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Speaking of the inside, pepperoni, salami and provolone are the classic elements of the Italian hoagie in this sandwich, along with Italian seasoning that includes plenty of oregano. But, that really just sets up the sandwich. The stars here are the house-made marinara and the lump of fresh mozzarella rolled inside the meat.
The mozzarella was the most unexpected and pleasant surprise. It's like finding the creamy nougat in the center of a candy bar. Bite far enough into the Pizza Sub and you get a hunk of that fresh mozz in the center.
But it's the rich and hearty marinara that pulls the entire sandwich together. Not only does it add critical moisture to what could be a pretty dry hoagie, it brings a layer of tangy, tomato-y goodness that really is reminiscent of a pizza.
The whole thing, like many good sandwiches, is a bit of a mess. You'll want a couple napkins. But it's worth it, delivering the best of pizza and Italian hoagie in one killer sandwich.