I’m always drawn to places that do one thing, and do it very well. To me, it means that all focus and dedication is placed onto one type of food and mastering it, making it the best it possibly can.
There’s no prizes for guessing what Pasta Emilia’s main strength is. The pasta here is made onsite and with organic ingredients, using recipes from the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy which is famous for its pasta. Pasta Emilia makes several types, including fettuccine, strozzapreti and filled pastas like ravioli and tortelli. While these are all available for purchase in convenient take home packs and sauces, we decided to eat in at the rustic, cottage-like cafe in Surry Hills for dinner one night.
We’re here for the pasta so we skip the entrees and dive straight in. The house made strozzapreti is a short pasta that kind of reminds me of DNA strands with its rolled and twisted structure. Strozzapreti literally means “priest stranglers” and legend has it that the name comes from the fact that priests enjoyed the pasta so much, they ate it too quickly and choked themselves! Whether that’s true or not, make sure you savour every mouthful of this strozzapreti that’s mixed with a rich beef ragu topped with a sprinkling of parmesan.
Tortelli is a pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region, which is generally used to indicate a round or half-moon shaped filled pasta. Here at Pasta Emilia, the tortelli are similar to ravioli but larger in size, and filled with things like beef, porcini, kale flowers, pumpkin and gorgonzola. The crab and prawn tortelli is filled with Australian prawns and blue swimmer crab from WA, and served with a vibrant salsa verde and rocket.
The duck and truffle tortelli was a popular choice, and the smell of butter wafted towards as the dishes were brought to the table. The hero of this dish was definitely the tortelli itself with a filling of free-range duck meat and specks of black truffle.
Sir D opted for the one of the daily specials which was pasta al forno. Similar to a lasagne, this baked pasta dish had strands of linguine covered in a creamy tomato sauce with a whole heap of parmesan on top. Absolutely delicious.
I saw the words truffle cream sauce and decided I had to have the tortelli of the day. There was a mix of two types of tortelli in the dish – a pink-hued beetroot and chevre tortelli and a pumpkin and ricotta tortelli. Both had a slightly sweet, nuanced flavour in the filling with a wonderfully al dente pasta casing that had just the right amount of bite.
The dessert menu is short and sweet, with a few classic Italian desserts like pannacotta and baked ricotta cake. We chose a torta cioccolato, a flourless chocolate cake which really hit the spot. The cake was slightly fudgy and served with a raspberry sauce and a shower of icing sugar. A sweet end to a sweet trip for my tastebuds to Emilia-Romagna!
259 Riley Street (corner of Reservoir St)
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9212 1069
Open for lunch: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am-4pm
Open for dinner: Wednesday to Saturday til 10pm