Stevie Parle’s recipe for a light and fresh summer dish: Pastaio’s seafood pasta
In the narrow, twisting roads between Regents Street and Carnaby Street, Londoners strut through the heatwave in search of shade, food and refreshment. Pastaio, with its outdoor seating and open-plan kitchen, sees itself as a casual, stylish destination for those in search of Italian fare that won’t break the bank.
The restaurant prides itself on its fresh pasta, crafted with the finest 00 flour (just like Nonna makes it) and its seasonal specials. As you roll another serving of spaghetti onto your fork, you can rest easy in the knowledge that it was made by pastai standing just behind you – a welcome change from the kale and avo bento box that awaits you in the office fridge. And you can even have it gluten-free (if that’s your bag). Pasta has the rare allure of being substantial and still bringing across a lightness in the flavour it carries, and this restaurant aims to make the most of this with a variety of summery, seafood and savoury sauces.
Take your time at Pastaio, get into the Mediterranean spirit (quite literally) with a glass of grappa or a prosecco slushie and watch the world go by in W1.
If Soho isn’t your usual stomping ground, or you fancy a more intimate setting with faces new or old, the restaurant’s pastaio-in-chief Stevie Parle and chef Alessio Mecozzi showed us how to make this luxurious seafood pasta, made to be shared, so you can try it for yourself at home.
Pastaio seafood pasta recipe (Serves 4)
Change up the seafood as you like; bits of fish, crab claws, picked lobster would all be good. I think it’s important to include clams or mussels though, as the juicy umami broth they create is an integral component. We use paccherri, a Sicilian pasta like a very large rigatoni.
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large mild red chilli, finely chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds, roughly ground
8 prawns body peeled, head intact
8 langoustine, split lengthways
200ml dry white wine (we use Greco)
100g picked white crab
150g mussels, washed and beards etc. removed
150g clams, washed
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Good quality oil to finish
Boil a large pan of well-salted water.
Heat a large shallow casserole dish (we use a 26cm cast iron shallow dish from Le Creuset) over a medium heat.
Make sure you have everything ready as above: garlic chopped and all the seafood prepped etc. – you’ll need to move fast once you get going.
Drop the pasta into the water.
Add the oil to the warm casserole and fry the garlic and chilli until it just starts to brown.
Add the seafood (except the crab) and coat well in the garlic chilli oil.
Add the white wine, turn up the heat and cover with a lid.
Once the pasta is a couple of minutes off being cooked add it to the seafood and continue to cook it all up together.
Finish with the chopped parsley, crab and a little more olive oil.
Give it all a good toss around and serve in the pan.
Photos: James Mason (recipe) / Filippo L’Astorina (restaurant)
To book a table at Pastaio, 19 Ganton Street Soho London W1F 9BN, visit their website here.