Where can we find your food on the streets?
We’re about to finish our summer residency at the Red Market, Shoreditch. We also trade at Harringay Market every second Sunday and are about to join other London markets (tbc).
What can FBC12 attendees expect from Pasta e Basta the event?
We decided to bring our star dish to #FBC12 – our homemade beetroot gnocchi. They’re beautiful ruby colour and always sell out once we put them on the menu. This time they’ll cook it with truffle oil and serve it with crushed hazelnuts and wild rocket. We’ll also make ravioli filled with courgettes, courgette flower, ricotta and crispy Parma Ham served in marjoram butter.
So, just who are Pasta e Basta?
I’m Fabrizio from Puglia in South Italy. I’ve been working as a chef for the last 8 years and probably had a bite too much. I started Pasta e Basta (which means just pasta) in May with my girlfriend Raminta, who has a full-time job but jumps in to help me during weekends and manages paperwork. I’m doing better with pasta sheets than spreadsheets, so if I’m not at a streetfood market, you’re most likely to find me covered in flour making various ravioli fillings, peeling potatoes for gnocchi, drying pasta or blending tomato sauce. I live and breathe pasta, quite literally to be honest.
What inspired you to start Pasta e Basta?
As much as I love my burger, I felt that there was too much ‘meat in a bun’ on the London streetfood scene. And fresh pasta is what I’m best at. So it was more of an instinct rather than an inspiration. I want to bring restaurant quality food to the streets, and put the modesty aside – it’s better than in any restaurant!
And where do you see it going? Is this a hobby or is there an end-game?
I was initially heading for a cafe/deli but fell in love with versatility and mobility offered by pitching at markets and events and don’t want to change that for the time being. We’re also about to launch a supper club for groups of 8-10 people at my own home in Homerton. We’ll be giving out more info on this at #FBC12!
Tell us a bit about food from Pasta e Basta?
I make pasta by myself in small batches. I use 00 Italian flour and free-range eggs. There is always gnocchi, ravioli and long pasta on the menu but the sauces change weekly. I get beef ribs or pork sausage from Ginger Pig (www.thegingerpig.co.uk) and make ragu. And if you’re having Pasta e Basta’s black tagliatelle with seafood, rest assured I picked up fresh fish myself from Billingsgate that morning. What goes with my pasta gets as much love and attention as the pasta itself.
What does it mean to you?
The freedom to express myself, my culture, my heritage and opinion through the food I serve.
What makes the food you serve so special?
It takes an entire day to make pasta and sauces for one day’s event. All my love and attention is what makes it so special. Also the fact that every portion is made to order, so stand next to me while waiting for your serving and enjoy the show.
After Pasta e Basta, what other food stalls out there do you think are really good?
I recently visited Brockley Market and was blown away by a wrap form Mike + Ollie (http://mikeandollie.co.uk/) – those guys go an extra mile to source their ingredients and the final result deserves an ode. I also have a weakness for from Alley Katsu (https://twitter.com/alleykatsu) – the best katsu curry in London without a doubt and it’s my usual Sunday lunch when I’m at Harringay market.
If you could only eat one dish, which would it be?
A specialty from my region – orecchiete con cime di rapa. Orecchiette pasta, meaning “little ears” in Italian, goes well with bitter greens, chilli and garlic. And a glass of Primitivo, please!
Do you have a food blog?
Currently, Facebook and Twitter keeps me busy when I decide to give myself a break, but it’s always about making that first step so watch this space.
Who is your favourite food blogger?
I love Victoria Stewart’s inside out knowledge of London street food scene (http://londonstreetfoodie.co.uk/). I adore the candour of Melissa Loves Food (http://melissafoodie.blogspot.co.uk/) – so much that I spend the whole night reading the blog after I’ve discovered her blog.
What words of wisdom would you share with those keen to get involved with street food?
Think twice – it’s not just fun and games as it might appear on the surface. It often happens that after a double shift on the streets I have to stay up till 5am making more pasta for the following day at the market.
Any particular anecdote that reflects what makes your job worth all the hard work?
It was a rainy Sunday morning and I had to get out of the bed to trade at the market. It’s a low point for every market trader – you have to go but you know it will be a disaster… Just before leaving the house I received a tweet from a lady who was asking what time I start as she’d heard about our beetroot gnocchi and was coming from another side of London to try it. That gave me energy to set up the stall in pouring rain.
What’s the most challenging aspect of operating a street food stall?
My battle with the elements during summer 2012. Everything else is a walk in the park.