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Project 49’s Italian-style tomato sugo

Words & Images: Richard Cornish

In the heart of Beechworth is a little café and providore. Set in an historic building a few doors up from the Kelly Bar at Tanswell’s Hotel Project 49 has become part of the town’s fabric. For the past eight years it has been the place locals go for a cup of coffee and an egg and bacon corn roll in the morning and for a bowl of soup and pasta for lunch. It was the pasta sauce that Lisa and her kitchen team were making that had everyone turning their heads as the rich aroma of cooking tomatoes filled Beechworth’s broad main street. The sauces are based on tomato sugo that Lisa had been making for years to an old family recipe.

“Dad was from San Danielle in Northern Italy, and we would make the sugo, like many expat Italians, in the backyard at Pasco Vale,” she says. “He would store them in his cantina under the house with the salume over winter,” she remembers.

Mum and dad have gone now so making the sugo is a link back to them.

Lisa makes her Project 49 Sugo in small 40 litre batches in the kitchen in Beechworth using ripe tomatoes. She bottles it beer stubbies in remembrance of the Melbourne Bitter longnecks her dad used. The sugo is rich, thick capturing the essence and nature of the ripest tomatoes. It is rich enough to be heated, seasoned and used as a basic pasta sauce but makes a great base for a Bolognese or amatriciana. It can be bought at Bar Rosella in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Rosella is owned by Rocco Esposito with whom she founded Project 49. It can also be bought directly from Project 49 along with great salume and compact collection of organic and biodynamic wines.

THE DETAILS
What: Hand made tomato sugo 360ml/$6.50  720ml/$12
When: Now
Where: Buy from Bar Rosella in Fitzroy or Project 49 in Beechworth

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

 

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