Maurice Terzini was born in Melbourne, and moved to Pescara, in Abruzzo, at nine before moving back to Australia as a young man. He opened Caffè e Cucina in Melbourne in 1998, the first in a string of successful restaurants, the Melbourne Wine Room and Il Bàcaro among them. He left for Sydney in 1999 to open Otto, and now calls the city home, running Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta and The Dolphin Hotel, but his distinctive take on restaurantcraft, especially front-of-house, can be seen nationwide. This dish, he says, reminds him of growing up in Italy. Icebergs chef Monty Koludrovic offers a version of it with saffron, mint and rye crumbs at Icebergs, but this is Terzini's original. "This dish, in a way, is everything I'm about and the reason I love Italian food," he says.
- 75 ml olive oil
- 1 kg mussels, cleaned, beards removed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 100 ml dry white wine
- ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, plus extra, torn, to serve
- Toasted sourdough, to serve
Sugo di pomodoro
- 425 gm canned peeled tomatoes
- ½ dried bay leaf
- 25 ml olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1For sugo di pomodoro, mash tomatoes with a potato masher in a large bowl, then add bay leaf and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until soft and translucent (6-10 minutes). Add tomato and bay leaf, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a thick rich sauce forms (1-1¼ hours). Season to taste.
- 2Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add mussels, garlic and chilli, and stir occasionally until mussels begin to open (2-3 minutes). Add wine, parsley and tomato sauce, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until mussels open fully (2-3 minutes). Scatter mussels with extra parsley and serve with toasted sourdough.
Drink Suggestion: Full-bodied dry white made from fiano or greco, both from the Italian south Drink suggestion by Max Allen