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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

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Ricotta parmesan tortellini with tomato sugo and basil


You'll need

1 egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash To serve: extra-virgin olive oil, torn baby basil and shaved parmesan   Tomato sugo 2 kg very ripe Roma tomatoes, halved lengthways 6 garlic cloves 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil   Pasta dough 250 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour 3 eggs 1-2 tbsp olive oil   Ricotta filling 200 gm firm ricotta 120 gm parmesan, finely grated 1 egg

Method

  • 01
  • For tomato sugo, preheat oven to 180C. Squeeze tomatoes to remove seeds and excess liquid (discard), place in a large roasting pan with garlic, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast until very tender (45-50 minutes). Cool slightly then pass through a fine mouli (see note) and season to taste, adding a pinch of sugar if tomatoes aren’t sweet enough.
  • 02
  • For pasta dough, combine flour and 1 tsp fine sea salt in a food processor and, with motor running, add eggs one at a time, then add olive oil until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth (4-5 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest (30 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for ricotta filling, combine ricotta, parmesan and egg in a bowl, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Divide pasta dough into 3, then, working with a piece at a time, feed through pasta machine rollers, starting at the widest setting. Lightly flour dough as you fold and feed it through, reducing settings notch by notch until you reach the second-narrowest setting. Cut out 7cm-diameter rounds from pasta (discard scraps), place 2 tsp ricotta filling in the centre of each round, brush edges with eggwash, fold pasta over to form a half-moon. Press edges to seal, then bring tips together and pinch to seal. Place on a lightly floured tray.
  • 05
  • Reheat tomato sugo in a saucepan and keep warm. Cook tortellini in a large saucepan of simmering salted water until they float (1-2 minutes), then drain well. Divide sugo among serving plates, top with tortellini, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, scatter with basil and parmesan, season to taste and serve hot.
Note If you don’t have a mouli, process the tomato mixture in a food processor and pass through a fine sieve instead.

This recipe is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

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