Osteria Balla at the Star – Regional Dinner: Sardegna

​Every month, Chef Stefano Manfredi takes diners on a culinary journey through different regions of Italy with menus inspired by traditional local recipes and produce. On Wednesday 10th April, it was a taste of Sardegna, a large island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tuscany.

Starting with 2009 Gioiamia VSQ Blanc de Blanc Brut from Sardegna, Stefano introduces the three course menu and its Sardinian influences.

Balla @ The Star
Seafood salad with Sardinian flatbread

For primo piatto, the Insalata di mare e pane carasau is a seafood salad with calamari, octopus legs, cuttlefish, mussels, diamond clams and two key Sardinian components. Pane carasau is Sardinian flat bread, commonly called “piano bread” because of the sound it makes when you eat it. The thin bread is grilled on each side for 30 seconds then drizzled with olive oil and salt. The other Sardinian ingredient is bottarga, or air dried mullet roe which is made in house, then grated to finish the dish. Stefano even shares his recipe for this delicious dish on the menu.

The seafood salad with Sardinian flatbread is paired with a 2009 Renosu Bianco, made of a blend of Chardonnay and Vermentino, the dominant grape variety in Sardinia.

Balla @ The Star
Sardinian “gnocchi” with sausage ragu and saffron

A choice of two main courses follows. Malloreddu alla Campidanese is Sardinian “gnocchi” made with sausage ragu and saffron. In essence, it is a pasta and not gnocchi called malloreddu, and the sausage sauce comes from an authentic recipe the Sous Chef has learnt from his mother in law.

Balla @ The Star
Wood-grilled lamb rump with myrtle

Sardinians are known to cook on wood-fired grills and use the local myrtle to flavour the meat. In this dish, Groppa d’agnello al mirto, or wood-grilled lamb rump with myrtle, Stefano uses Sardinian myrtle which has been planted on the rooftop garden for this menu.

The main courses are served with NV Renosu Rosso, a superb red variety from Sardegna which has sweet ripe fruit character from the amount of sunshine it gets – a wine that goes very well with both dishes.

Balla @ The Star
Fried pastry with sweet ricotta and honey

Dessert is another delectable speciality. Seadas aperta, or fried pastry with sweet ricotta and honey is traditional Sardinian pastry which is fried in oil, and made with fresh ricotta, citron, candied lemon cedro drizzled with honey.

The dish is paired with a 2009 Moscato di Cagliari Cantina Dolianova, a sweet wine from Sardegna.

Balla @ The Star
Petits fours

Sardinian petits fours made from orange rind and blanched almonds in honey put a sweet end to the meal,

Balla @ The Star

… before finishing with an espresso made with Espresso di Manfredi Chiaro blend.

The upcoming Osteria Balla Italian Regional Menu Series continues in Lazio in May, Trentino in June, Umbria in Jul, and Abruzzo in August.

Osteria Balla
Level G, Harbourside,
The Star/80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.