Introducing the volcano pizza, a double base pizza with a fiery twist – and only available in one place in Canberra.

If you have ever been to Italy you will know it is an experience for the senses – especially the scent of the food. The aroma of fresh pizza and pasta in any city in the boot-shaped country is the scent of pure heaven.

And this is what you smell when you walk through the doors of Antica Ricetta in Manuka. Situated in Palmerston Lane, the little traditional restaurant transports diners to an authentic eatery in Italy.

The volcano pizza, named Vulcano, is made with a double pizza base.  The second base is placed over a layer of fior di latte, capsicum, olives and hot salami on the first base.  The steam from the cooking makes the top base rise into a volcano shape.

The volcano pizza is finished off with a ‘lava’ of sauce and a shot of alcohol – set on fire!

Chef Stefano Diabotti proudly explains that all the recipes on the Antica Ricetta menu are the same as those used in Italy. Originally from a small town in the European nation, Stefano is not the only authentic Italian element of Antica Ricetta –  everything is derived from Italy, from the food to the beer, particularly the craft beer, and the wine is from only but the best regions in Italy.

Handmade bread and pizza dough is Ricetta’s speciality and it is unbelievably fresh and genuine. The fettuccine, pappardelle, ravioli, lasagne, and cannelloni is all freshly made in-house, making it so, so tasty, while the pizza dough and the pasta sauces are cooked every day in the traditional way.

Antica Ricetta, meaning antique recipe in Italian, is the perfect name for the restaurant. Even the interiors make you feel like you’re dining in a small family-owned business in Florence.

We were lucky enough to taste six dishes and it’s hard to choose our favourite! The first dish we were served was the Linguine all’ astice – linguine cooked with lobster, white wine, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and parsley. This super fresh pasta dish is an explosion of flavours on the palette and really ignites the senses. As there are so many elements in this dish, it’s hard not to love it!

With takeaway pizza and pasta available, as well as other small goodies like slices and pastries, you are able to take Stefano’s super secret pizza dough with you wherever you go. While we were stuffing our faces with this pizza and the other delicious food, we asked Stefano why he loves what he does:

“If I was a barista, for example, I make the coffee and give it to the customer. But it’s actually not something that I make because I buy the coffee and the milk and blend them together and give it to the customer,” Stefano said.

“But with my job, everything that I give to the customer is something that I make. I take the ingredients including flour and water, combine them together, let it rise, and cook it in a woodfire oven. I like to see people and give them the best food and see their reaction. There is a lot of love and it makes me work harder when I see people who appreciate that.”

The next dish we were served was the Grilled Big Prawns. These massive grilled prawns were sautéed with whiskey, seasoned with oil and lemon, and to make things even better, served with an equally massive side of smoked salmon. The flavour the prawns possessed was implausibly good. Super fresh and super yummy, perfect for summer!

The Margherita Pizza was the second and final pizza dish we were served and it didn’t disappoint. Topped with the classics, tomato, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, it was amazing and tasted exactly like Italy on a plate.

The stand out dish for us was the Fettuccini Cacio E Pepe. This house made fettuccini was served with parmesan pecorino cheese, black pepper, and fresh ricotta. It was simply beautiful and we finished off every last strand of fettuccini.

Last, but not least, was the Penne Antica Ricetta, Ricetta’s specialty pasta. The penne is served with a creamy saffron sauce and Italian sausages. The yellow colour of the pasta made it all that more appetizing as it looked amazingly fresh and tasted spectacular.

Canberra, Antica Ricetta is your new Italian getaway and hideaway in Manuka. If you’re after a hearty, traditional Italian meal, look no further than Palmerston Lane. Rejoice, as there is no need to travel to the other side of the world for real Italian food – Ricetta has brought it to Canberra.

See Ricetta’s Venue profile here.

Photography: Ashley St George