I was inspired to go to Osteria Balla a couple of weeks ago after an interesting chat with Stefano Manfredi. The first time I remember meeting him was at ‘The Restaurant”’, his ground breaking restaurant in Ultimo…. so many years ago it would be wiped from recent food knowledge. I recall eating a dish of roasted red and yellow peppers … simple. There was little else on this dish, in fact I cant even recall the other ingredients apart the olive oil, but it was awe inspiring, fresh and naked, the likes of which nobody else cooked at the time. That was Stefano then, but of course this is still him now, before the new young chefs of this moment.
This is why Stefano is so inspiring. His love of Italy is so evident in his food and like most food lovers he has never stopped learning . Make no mistake , there are a lot of regional variations of dishes in Italy , there are certain expectations ( to cooking) and this is the culture of life in Italy. Food=Culture. This is where our conversation meandered the other day. Australians have a freedom of culture and food and we often make the rules as we go… we are not bound by expectations and traditions this can take our Italian cooking in a different direction. Then we talked about Porchetta, wonderful and delicious boned rolled and stuffed pork roasted to tender perfection , this is offered every Sunday at Osteria Balla, and now I am very interested!
Balla is very large, a beautiful temple to Italian style. Mosaic tiles and kilometers of window overlooking Pymont. A showstopping silver sided walkway leads you into the stomach of the restaurant past the bar area with its yellow spacey lights and delivers you to a two tired dining area. There are white booths looking a little like the Tea Cups ride you sit in at the Easter show, and then the main floor where all the tables share the view. I am here for a regional dinner.
These dinners showcase a regional area, of Italy with stories and classic dishes. This is different to the everyday menu.
Osteria Balla’s Tuscan regional dinner was 4 courses for $90.00 including Italian wines from
Baccala’coi porri – Salted Cod Braised with Leeks
2009 Torre Varano Taburno
Pappardelle al sugo di coniglio e castagne- House made Pappardelle with Rabbit and Chestnut Sauce
2008 Ferentano Falesco Roscetto
Peposo all’Imprunetina con polenta- Beef Shin slow cooked in Chianti and served with Polenta (with buckwheat- Organic Taragna). This traditional dish was once made in the village oven. It is spiced with pepper and luscious with red wine reduced to a soft rich braise
2007 II Marroneto ignaccio Rosso di Montalcino
Torta d’erbi – Traditional Pie made from wild Greens
2010 Bera Moscato dÁsti naturale. We also had an amazing peppery red with this rustic weed pie. It was an incredible match. Want to know what that red was…?
This is what happens when you are sitting with the wine importer!!
Coming……………. an exclusive chat with Stefano and the recipe to his show stopping Peposo!
I was very excited to get a tour of the mostly open kitchen. The most impressive part the huge pasta cooker. Looking just like a big deep fryer full of water with 6 baskets. Sorry , no picture I was too busy oggling
Don’ t forget to come back for Stefano Manfredi’s recipe and a chat
If you like My Kitchen Stories why not visit on facebook and say hi !