When Scarpetta opened in New York, one dish was quick to become famous: spaghetti with tomato and basil.
The subject of much praise from Frank Bruni’s The New York Times review, the spaghetti is exceptionally simple, using just a handful of readily available ingredients, like many of the best Italian dishes. The result, however, is deeply comforting, and has won the hearts of customers at the original restaurant, and at Sette – the team’s first restaurant in London, which opened in the Bvlgari Hotel last year. Sette is a predominantly Italian restaurant with a strong Italian-American accent, adding some modern flair alongside a general air of glamour (think Scorsese over Coppola), with a menu that focuses on excellent seasonal produce.
Showcasing Roma tomatoes gently simmered and finished with basil, before being tossed with al dente spaghetti, the dish is relatively simple to create at home following the restaurant’s recipe. (N.B. add a knob of salted butter for extra decadence). A spaghetti recipe has also been provided, if you’re still struggling to pick up dried pasta.
Spaghetti, 1 pound / 450g (recipe below)
Roma tomatoes, 2 pounds / 900g
San Marzano tomatoes, a tin, whole peeled
Sea salt, 2 tsp
Garlic, 4 cloves, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup / 250ml
Chilli flakes, a pinch
Basil leaves, 4, whole
Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 tbsp, grated
Basil leaves, 2, chiffonade
For the fresh spaghetti
“OO” flour, 4 cups / 512g
Semolina, approx. ½ cup / 64g
Salt, a pinch
Egg yolks, 5
Water, ½ cup / 118ml, plus 1 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp
Blanch tomatoes and shock in ice water. Remove skin and discard. Deseed the tomatoes and strain the liquid from the seeds. Discard the seeds.
In a heavy bottom pan, add the fresh tomatoes. Add canned tomatoes and sea salt, cooking over low heat. Using a potato masher, break up the tomatoes and continue cooking, reducing by ¼ for about 1 ½ hours.
As the tomatoes cook, add garlic, chili flakes and oil to a small pot. Cook the garlic over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat and add basil, allowing the four basil leaves to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the oil into the tomato sauce base, blend and reserve.
When ready to serve, warm sauce in a sauté pan, bring to a simmer, and add al dente pasta. Cook all together for two minutes. Add grated Parmigiano and chiffonade basil, toss well and serve.
To make the spaghetti
Using a mixer with the dough hook attachment, add “OO” flour, ¼ plus 2 tbsp semolina and pinch of salt to the bowl.
Set mixer to speed two to start, and fold egg yolks and egg into the mixture until incorporated, then add in oil and water. Allow dough to mix for 10 minutes or until all ingredients are fully blended and in one uniform dough. Add extra water by the tablespoon if needed.
Remove from the mixer, and knead the dough with your hands on a floured surface to create one round ball. Place the dough into in a large plastic kitchen bag, kneading the dough to push out any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bag, wrap in plastic wrap, and allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
To roll pasta, cut ½” slices from the chilled dough, and roll by hand on a lightly floured surface to create an elongated piece, then place through roller attachment on the mixer. Fold the dough over and run through the rolling attachment 2-3 more times, finishing on setting number one. Cut the dough into pieces 10” in length.
Switch to a spaghetti attachment, placing one 10” piece through at a time, gently pulling the spaghetti out on the other side and allowing to rest on a sheet tray. Sprinkle with flour.
To cook, place pasta in salted, boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain.
Placed cooked spaghetti in a sauce pan and sauté with your desired sauce for 2 minutes. Serve, and enjoy.