The Best Pasta in Coffs

Last month Coastbeat featured master gelato maker Stefano Mazzina at Sotto Zero in Coffs Central. The response has been so huge we thought we should revisit Stefano for another serve of fine Italian cuisine.

Stefano has just received his new pasta-maker with which he plans to add more freshly made pasta to his already delicious menu.

“In Italy we eat pasta to taste pasta. Sauces are good, of course, but most important is the pasta,” Stefano tells me. I imagine entwined ribbons of fettucine, coated in warm garlic-infused olive oil, sprinkled with cracked black pepper and shavings of golden parmesan.

Pasta on a fork

With his new pasta machine Stefano will be able to make pasta to order using a variety of organic whole flours, including buckwheat and spelt. These will be offered with a choice of sauces, like sweet and salty pancetta combined with fragrant rosemary, tossed through warm pasta, garlic and virgin olive oil.

“Making my own pasta gives me control over every step of the process. I will be using only organic flours and am planning to add flavours like squid ink and saffron.”

Immediately I imagine dark, glistening squid ink spaghetti, twirled around my fork, coated with a fresh spinach and roquette pesto.

Most people are familiar with the dry pasta that you can buy in supermarkets and delis, which use durum and semolina flours. Mass-produced pastas are often made from processed white flour, which has little of the goodness of the grain left in.

“The pasta I make will be created from organic whole grains,” says Stefano, “which are good carbs, full of the flavour of the grains, with no pesticides.”

Especially when paired with a creamy boscaiola sauce rich with pungent field mushrooms and slices of salty bacon, garnished with freshly chopped parsley.

Stefano will be making a variety of pasta shapes that customers can mix and match with classic sauces, ready to go, or to warm through at home. Which reminds me of spaghetti bolognaise, my all-time favourite pasta sauce and a specialty of Stefano’s.

Fresh Pasta

But what about dessert? I ask Stefano why the gelato in Italy always tastes better than the gelato in Australia – is it something in the air?

“No,” he replies, with a laugh. “It is the natural ingredients. Many of the commercial gelatos here use industrial ingredients which make it easier for the shopkeeper but does not taste as good. I make my gelato the old-fashioned way, using all natural ingredients, including those that thicken the gelato and stop it freezing too hard. My gelato takes longer to make, but the result is worth it.”

I finish writing at 11.30am – about time to prepare lunch and no prizes for what’s on the menu. Or I could head on down to Sotto Zero and have Stefano make lunch for me? What would you do?

Fresh pasta from $9 at Sotto Zero, Ground floor in Coffs Central. Telephone 6651 1531