13 June 2023

Five minutes with Gabriele Rota, Pota Pasta

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Owner of Pota Pasta, Gabriele Rota.

Owner of Pota Pasta, Gabriele Rota. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Gabriele Rota: A young guy that, a few years ago, wanted to find a better place to live, a better life, possibly a successful life. I guess I’m nearly there. At the end of 2018, I decided to move to Australia from Italy. I’m very ambitious and I have a passion to try and share Italian food with Australians, particularly in Wagga.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what real Italian food is. I think when Italians came to Australia many years ago, they Australianised the Italian culture along with many other cultures. They changed it in a way to please the Australian palate and didn’t really concentrate much on authenticity, and bringing the real flavours to this amazing country.

Pota pastas are handmade. Photo: Pota Pasta.

I started my business in Melbourne when COVID started. My partner and I got stuck in Wagga when the first lockdown was announced. I couldn’t do much, I was making pasta in a registered kitchen. Later I started doing the markets in Wagga and saw a lot of interest in fresh pasta and I did deliveries around the town.

We moved back to Melbourne after six months and in January last year we decided to move back to Wagga permanently. I was meant to open in Junee, but this place came up and we got it. It’s not an ideal location because it’s a little bit out of town and I don’t get much foot traffic, but it has worked okay. I changed this takeaway shop into a cosy Italian place.

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Best recent dining experience: Kisume, a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne. We went to a chef’s table that was only 12 people. They make sushi on the spot with truffle, caviar and Wagyu A5. The best and most luxurious experience I’ve had. In Wagga, the Oakroom. I loved the environment, the food was very good and the staff members were amazing.

Favourite cuisine: Japanese.

What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without good cheese and cured meats.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I’ve had Weet-Bix before and I did not like them. It was like eating sand.

Man drinking coffee

Gabriele’s go-to coffee is an espresso, single shot. Photo: Pota Pasta.

Best coffee spot in Wagga: Aside from myself, Meccanico.

Favourite coffee: Espresso single shot.

What’s your coffee blend: Fish River Roasters.

Food being put into a takeaway container.

Pota Pasta (authentic handmade) Italian restaurant offers takeaway, dine-in and delivery. Photo: Pota Pasta.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: Latte with four shots, a long black with five sugars and half strength lactose-free latte decaf.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: More multicultural and authentic food.

Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: Thorne Street Cafe.

A must-try on the menu: Italian carbonara. It’s the most authentic version you can get. I don’t use pecorino because it’s a bit of a stronger flavour but, instead, I use parmesan. I use very good pancetta instead of guanciale – it’s very expensive. Also, the gnocchi.


Pota Pasta offers an array of authentic Italian dishes. Photo: Pota Pasta.

Most used ingredient at Pota Pasta: Parmesan and eggs.

My top pick from our desserts: Tiramisu.

My biggest culinary influence: An Italian website where I get a lot of my inspiration. I also used old Italian cookbooks from like 20 to 50 years ago. Those recipes take you back in time.


Simple flavours are often the best. Photo: Pota Pasta.

Favourite cookbook: La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating) by Pellegrino Artusi.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: My friend Robert who owns Thaigaa and Tammy’s Thai. He created a Thai empire with himself and Tammy.


Pota Pasta’s signature gnocchi. Photo: Pota Pasta.

Death row meal: Nice platter of salmon sashimi, nigiri, sushi tacos, sashimi tacos along with Chinotto and Aranciata (Italian fizzy drinks).

Where am I travelling to next: I’m travelling to Italy again. I’m getting married mid next year in Italy. I also want to go back to Japan and South Korea.

Dream destination: I’ve already been to my dream destination – New Zealand and Australia. If I have to choose another one, I would like to go to Alaska. I love the wilderness, big mountains, and skiing. I just love the whole winter situation.


Pota Pasta’s tiramisu is a must-try. Photo: Pota Pasta.

My top cooking tips: Do not microwave and use quality ingredients. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil because there are not many real extra virgin olive oils out there. There’s a massive scam around olive oils. Real ones are extremely healthy. The brands to use are Red Island Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cobram Estate and Wollundry Grove.

Pasta does not make you fat unless you eat it for dinner. Pasta is made of complex sugars, which are carbohydrates that release energy slowly.

That’s why Italians always eat pasta for lunch. We eat a small breakfast, we have croissants and cappuccino and for dinner, and we have vegetables, protein and a little bit of carbs.

Pota Pasta is located at 2A Mason Street, East Wagga Wagga. Open Monday to Wednesday from 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm and Saturday 5 pm to 8 pm.

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