Pasta e Basta

I came across Pasta e Basta (Fabrizio and Raminta), three months ago in Red Market. I love Italian cuisine, architecture, the people, climate, well almost everything Italian. Surely this made my decision easy when I arrived the market.

I had a quick research on the history of pasta: Apparently, although fried dough dishes were consumed since first century, the first reference to the dried pasta we know is dated 1154, describing it being produced and sold in Sicily. It was eaten dry with the fingers, until tomato sauce was introduced in 1790! Probably no one paid much attention to this pasta revolution, which happened just one year after the French Revolution. Bad timing.

Pasta e Basta (meaning “just pasta“) make their own pasta in small quantities in Hackney, with quality flour and free-range eggs. This is great to know, as I think quality ingredients and freshness are two prerequisites for a good dish, everything else is secondary. On the day of my visit, they were serving Tagliatelle, Papardelle or Gnocchi with either prawn and squid,  or pancetta, or basil and mozarella, all in tomato sauce. They say thin sauces go with thin pasta as sauce slide easily on smooth pasta surface.  Hollow or twisty shapes, on the other hand, are supposed to be better with chunkier sauces, as the saucy bits can nest inside or get caught in the ridges. Based on this, I think Pasta e Basta’s pasta and sauce combinations should work!

In addition to these dishes, there was a guest too: basil ravioli filled with Devonshire crab, served in light prawn and tomato sauce. Local crab and prawns.. I’m definitely in for that.

They cook pasta and the sauce in front of you. This put a smile on my face. And for some reason I don’t know, I love these pans too.

The dish is ready with a drizzle of olive oil, crushed black peppers and two leaves of basil. Nice finishing touches.

Just from the colour of the tomato sauce, I could tell this tomato sauce was a rare one. I guess it was made by grating tomatoes, which I think is the best way to prepare a tomato sauce. You end up using lots of them, and the sauce becomes a bit watery, but its taste can not be compared to sauces sold in supermarkets. Pasta was cooked perfectly, it was between raw and cooked so that you feel a bit hardness and a bit softness when you chew it. The crab inside ravioli was plenty and so tasty, no wonder why: because it wasn’t frozen! This was the highlight of the dish for me, a huge thumbs up to Pasta e Pasta for providing this, as the seafood in restaurants are almost always frozen or/and farmed, which kills the taste and texture. I think selling fresh seafood in street trucks is a clear indication of London’s street food scene’s quality.

I enjoyed this dish a lot. It is a a great combination of fresh and quality products, well cooked and so tasty. The portion size is small, so I would prefer it as a side or tapas at a dinner, instead of as a main course for lunch. (PS: I was told that now they do two sizes of raviolis, great news)

It looks like Pasta e Basta is about fine Italian food. They have a nice Facebook album, and they organise supper clubs too. Oh a final note: apparently their signature dishes are beetroot gnocchi in creamy gorgonzola sauce and basil ravioli filled with cod. Next time!

Rating: 8 / 10

Price: £6

Location: They are usually in Harringay market. Best would be to check their calendar.

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