Blast From the Pasta
— 31 Aug 2017, 15:06 by Hugh Thomas
From the 17th to the 19th century, pasta was a proper Italian street food. They’d boil the stuff in cauldrons over charcoal fires on dusty Neapolitan streets. Plates were for wimps – standard procedure was to scoop the piping-hot noodles with one bare hand, throw the head back, and lower the strands of pasta straight down the gullet. All without touching the sides.
We may not be seeing such spectacles among the Shoreditch public soon. Nor would we recommend it, unless you fancy scorching your throat. But one thing’s for sure: pasta is making a comeback to street food.
It was the accessible restaurant Trullo which, in 2010, popularised fresh, affordable pasta in London. Then its sister joint – Padella – bought people clamouring on the Borough pavement for their beef shin ragu papardelle. But Osteria Della Pasta, Boxpark Shoreditch’s latest top-floor addition, is bringing pasta back to where it really endeared itself to the masses – on the street.
At Osteria, you’ll find slow-cooked Italian sausage with fennel; beef bolognese; calamari; tomato and basil ragu. Each put together with ingredients sourced from the legendary Smithfield and Billingsgate markets. Then served on a helping of egg pasta made in-house the same morning.
You heard it here first, but, while all these dishes stand tall, we reckon the Italian sausage – at £4.50 a hit – will be the real crowd pleaser. Sure, downing fistfuls of papardelle has become a long lost pastime. But will Osteria Della make street-side pasta popular again? The bets are on...