Ciao Bella is one of my favourite Italian restaurant in London. They are located in the most gorgeous street: Lambs conduit.
We discovered this restaurant through a dear Japanese friend who studied with my husband a few years back and ever since, we regularly visit it as they do the most amazing seafood pasta in a bag. I have no idea how they cook it but it is delicious. You can choose between a white sauce and a tomato sauce and the second one is my favourite.
I will not claim that this recipe is as delicious, because for start they mix many more types of seafood (including squid and mussels) but it is, never the less, a good attempt to describe what you could be looking forward to enjoy in your next supper in London.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Quantity: This mix serves 4
1. Always buy chopped tomatoes. That is, if you don’t live in a sunny place along the Mediterranean. I have tried to buy whole tomatoes in a tin and chop them and it did not work. Also, try to buy good quality ones if you can. As usual, not so many ingredients so quality is important.
2. Use good quality seafood. If fresh is out of budget, find good quality (uncooked) frozen one. If you buy frozen one, make sure that you defreeze properly prior to cooking. I normally take them off the bag, place them in cold water and let the ice melt. Keep an eye on them as the ice will only melt for as long as the water is “warmer” than 0 degrees Celsius (freezing temperature). Change the water as required until fully defrosted. Pat them dry in a paper towel to avoid splashing of oil.
3. Do not be tempted to use warm or hot water. Do not use the microwave either. (By the way, I might just come clean now: I do not use microwaves ever. I simply do not believe in them. So apologies to those who rather cook that way)
400 gr of spaghetti
4 spoons of olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic very finely chopped
50gr gr of anchovies preserved in olive oil finely chopped
3 birds eye mini chillies
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400gr)
200 gr of white fish cut in cubes (not too small)
100 gr of prawns
2 table spoons of parsley
Place the oil, the garlic, anchovies and chilli in a pan and heat in medium heat until golden. The anchovies will melt.
Make sure that you turn them regularly to avoid any ingredient to be overcooked. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minute. Taste, adjust salt if required (although the anchovies are rather salty) and add the parsley and the fish.
You will need to, carefully and with a wooden spoon, stir the mix. Careful because you don’t want to dissolve the fish and wooden spoon because metal tool can scratch pans and scratched pans are not healthy: Particularly Teflon ones. Please take care.
Cook for further five minutes. Add the prawns and cook for the final five minutes.
For the pasta, I would recommend that you check the pack’s instructions. There are some general rules about salting the waters, using roughly 100gr of pasta per person etc.. but truthfully, when it comes to the timing: every pasta is different , as so is every taste.
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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