The phrase, “Sydney’s best kept secret” is easily thrown around nowadays. Often when you visit these establishments, they are bustling, loud and you have to wait 30 minutes for a table. But upon arrival at I Maccheroni on a breezy Friday evening, I was pleasantly surprised at its unassuming presence, situated just off the raucous Oxford Street. Residing within a townhouse, the neighbourhood restaurant has become known for its fusion of Italian staples and signature hand-rolled pasta dishes with fresh, locally sourced, seasonal produce. Moving from its original home in Rose Bay last year, I Maccheroni re-opened in Woollahra and has since become a go-to foodie destination within the eastern suburbs.
I Maccheroni is the first solo venture for Chef Proprietor, Marcello Farioli (ex-10 William Street, Fratelli Paradiso, Otto and Pendolino) and drawing from his northern Italian home of Rubiera – a comune in the province of Reggio Emilia – has curated an offering of homemade delights and traditional family recipes, all with fine dining appeal.
First and foremost, it can be agreed that a considered wine list and a famed, house-made bread is the secret to success for any good Italian eatery. This, I can attest to the Woollahra restaurant. The extensive wine menu features a mix of classic and progressive varietals from across Italy and Australia. And in its continuance of collaborations and support of local wine merchants and suppliers, the menu is kept current and modern to ensure your chosen drop is perfectly paired with your dish. It’s bread, a tradition stone mill-style iteration is soft and sweet, creating a perfect balance when paired with balsamic vinegar. Traditional antipasti is another hero found on the authentic menu and also includes Mushroom Arancini – a crowd favourite – as well as Burrata and Prosciutto San Daniele.
But to truly make the most of a visit to I Maccheroni is to indulge in the selection of pasta dishes. This spring, its signature is the Burnt butter and sage spinach tortelli with 24-month aged reggiano cheese. Utterly delicate with a rich flavour profile, the meal portion is generous just as you’d expect from traditional Italian cuisine (see the recipe below). Accompanying a rotating menu of pasta iterations, is a separate selection of ethically reared meats. We suggest adding these to your list of mains to explore for something heartier. Farioli, has also introduced the holy grail of Italian-meets-Australian morsels, the Ribollita sanga. This hearty vegetarian hybrid is a new take on a traditional Tuscan bread stew recipe, fashioned into a sandwich and packed with ribbons of soft cabbage, carrots, chard and tomatoes.
By this point of the evening, a digestif may be needed if you want to further indulge in an array of desserts and cheeses. Followed by a refreshing limoncello – another Italian staple – and on recommendation, the Ricotta tirramsiu and slivered almonds lends a sweet finale to a culinary tour through northern Italy.
To book a table and for more information, visit here.
Spinach Parmigiano Reggiano Tortelli
Serves: 6 (50 individual Tortelli) | Prep Time: 1-1.5 hours | Cooking Time: 3 mins
Spinach mix –
• 250g Parmigiano Reggiano
• 750g Frozen spinach
• 10g Garlic
• 70ml Milk
• 100g Breadcrumbs
• 1 Egg
• Cottonseed oil
• Salt (to taste)
Pasta dough –
• 500g Flour
• 4 Eggs
• 3-4 Egg yolks
Pasta dough –
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it starts to crumble together.
Handroll dough mix into a ball and wrap in a tea cloth, allow to rest in a dry cool place for one hour.
Spinach mix –
Finely chop the garlic and commence frying in a large (flat) pan with a drizzle of and place in the flat cottonseed oil.
Add the frozen spinach to the pan and turn heat to low/medium, cook the spinach until there is no water left, then add milk.
Once cooked down (no liquid remains), remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs, parmesan and eggs.
Allow mix to cool then place into a food processor with the Pamigiano Reggiano and check seasoning.
Flatten the pasta dough with a rolling pin, then put through a pasta roller machine, taking it down by a notch each time (e.g. start on gear 4, then fold into gear 3, 2 and finally 1).
Rolling to dough onto a flat surface, use a round cutter to create circles of dough. Place a small quantity of the spinach mix onto one dough circle and enclose by placing a second circle on top. Brush the edges with water and squeeze out any remaining air as you close each tortelli.
Cook the tortelli in a big pot of hot boiling water (seasoned with 20g of salt per litre of water) for about 3 minutes then strain the pasta gently, toss in bit of butter. Plate and grate some Parmigiano aged 24 months on top to serve.