3 store cupboard recipes from Lina Stores, London’s chicest pasta restaurant

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Missing going out to your favourite pasta restaurant? Recreate the experience from home with these deliciously simple recipes, courtesy of Lina Stores head chef Masha Rener. 

As much as we’ve been enjoying ordering takeaways and discovering the delights of home baking, one of the things we’re missing most during this period of social distancing is the ceremony of getting dressed up and meeting friends for dinner.

But there’s no reason why you can’t bring a sense of occasion back to meal times while your favourite restaurants are off-limits. All it takes is a delicious recipe, some great company on Zoom, and voila – suddenly you’re dining out in the comfort of your own home.

And if fresh pasta is your cuisine of choice when eating out, we’ve got good news. Below, Masha Rener – head chef at Lina Stores – shares three simple pasta recipes with Stylist: fusi all’arrabbiata, pico alla norchina and porchetta, and burrata ravioli with datterini tomato, toasted pine nuts and basil. 

An iconic London establishment, the tiny Lina Stores empire is comprised of a 75-year-old Italian deli on Brewer Street in Soho, an intimate, elegant restaurant on nearby Greek Street, and a bigger, buzzier outpost that opened its doors in Kings Cross last autumn. Beyond the infinitely Instagrammable mint green decor, the restaurants owe their reputation to their fresh pasta, which is handmade every day at the Lina Stores deli.

Not sure about your fresh pasta-making skills? While some of the more complex recipes on Lina Stores’ menu might be difficult to imitate, the dishes Rener has selected below are easily recreated at home. And if you don’t have the energy (or the ingredients) to make fresh pasta, you can simply sub in the dried stuff. Buon appetito

Pici alla norcina and porchetta

Lina Stores: Pico alla norchina and porchetta

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the norcina sauce

  • 1 pack 30% pork mince
  • 27g salt
  • 3g cracked black pepper
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 80g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3g grated garlic
  • 750ml single cream

For the pici dough

  • 400g plain flour
  • 270g hot water
  • 5g salt

For the porchetta

  • 4kg pork belly
  • 125g salt
  • 1kg mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots)
  • 100g fennel
  • 50g fennel seed
  • 120g garlic
  • 80g black pepper
  • 50g rosemary
  • 50g sage
  • 250ml water
  • 500ml dry white wine

Method

Soak the porcini mushrooms for 20 minutes. Remove from the water, squeeze, and chop into hazelnut-sized pieces.

Pour the wine over the pork and season with salt and pepper.

Add the meat to the pan and brown slowly until it’s crisp. Drain the excess fat, add the soaked mushrooms and sauté.

Add the garlic and sauté lightly. Add the cream, then bring to the boil. Cook until the sauce gets thick.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour with hot water and the salt until it you make a very smooth dough. Cover with a wet cloth and leave it for 30 minutes. Cut into small pieces and roll until you get a long thick spaghetti of about 25cm.

To make the marinade for the porchetta, blitz the salt, fennel seed, wild fennel, garlic and black pepper into a paste. Lay the pork skin-side down on a tray, rub the paste onto the meat and leave to marinate overnight.

After the pork belly has marinated, roll it with butcher’s twine.

Place the mirepoix and other ingredients on the base of a roasting tray. Cook at 80°C for 12 hours, then finish at 200°C for half an hour. 

Burrata ravioli with datterini tomato, toasted pine nuts and basil

Lina Stores: Burrata ravioli with datterini tomato, toasted pine nuts and basil

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g burrata (or mozzarella), finely cut
  • 500g datterini tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • handful toasted pine nuts
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly grated parmesan

For the pasta dough

  • 300g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Mix pasta dough ingredients by hand until smooth. Wrap in cling film and let the dough sit in a cool, dry space for half an hour before using.

Roll out the pasta dough thinly until it’s about 0.7mm thick, and cut into equal squares of 4 inches each. Fill each square with 25g of fresh burrata (about two tablespoons) and close the square by folding it in half into a triangle. Pinch the edges together so they stay closed. Set aside.

For the sauce, quickly blend the tomatoes for a few seconds into rough pieces. Put the tomatoes through a strainer to drain the juice into a separate bowl, and set the tomato pieces aside.

Add the olive oil, one tablespoon of plain flour and the tomato juice to a pan and sweat down without allowing the sauce to gain any colour from frying. Let this cook until it thickens. Take the sauce from the heat and let it cool down.

Add the raw, solid tomato pieces from the strainer and mix into the sauce. Add salt to taste and 10 leaves of chopped basil. Mix.

Boil pasta in salted water for about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta triangles into the same pan as the sauce and mix in slowly. Top with some parmesan. Divide the pasta equally between four people and top with toasted pine nuts. Then serve and enjoy! 

Fusi all’arrabbiata

Lina Stores: Fusi all’arrabbiata

Serves 10

Ingredients

For the arrabbiata sauce

  • 100ml olive oil (I use Frantoio Bianco Olive Oil Extra Vergine di Oliva Apricus)
  • 5 red chillies finely chopped with seeds (remove seeds for less spice)
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1kg fresh ripe tomatoes (ideally San Marzano tomatoes when in season or Gustarosso Pomodoro San Marzano tinned tomatoes)
  • 5 basil leaves
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

For the pasta

  • 500g Cuor D’Italia flour (or any plain white flour)
  • 5 medium-sized free range eggs
  • 25g olive oil
  • 5g sea salt

To finish

  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Equipment

  • pasta machine
  • dry wooden board
  • Kitchen Aid mixer (optional)
  • sharp knife or pizza cutter & ruler (optional)

Method

For the fusi pasta dough, mix the eggs, flour, olive oil and sea salt and knead to a smooth and elastic dough using your hands or a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Shape the dough into a square and cover in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Set up the pasta machine and dust the dough with flour.

Thread the pasta sheet through the machine roller starting on the highest setting and thin the pasta with each roll. You want to end up with a thickness of 1.5-2mm to finish.

Place the thinned pasta sheet on a dry wooden board. Cut 7cm x 7cm even squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter and ruler.

Give the pasta its shape by pressing together two opposite corners of the square, leaving a tunnel-like hole in between to create the fusi shape. While shaping the fusi, cover with a wet tea towel. This prevents the pasta from drying out and will make it easier to work with.

Place the finished fusi on a dry towel or tray and set aside.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the finely chopped garlic and chilli until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and reduce the sauce for about 10-15 minutes until it has thickened. Add the basil leaves and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Finish the pasta by cooking the fusi in salted water for about 60-90 seconds until al dente (firm to bite). Combine the cooked fusi with the hot sauce adding a ladle of pasta water to the saucepan.

Slowly combine the pasta and sauce and leave to reduce slightly.

Add a splash of olive oil and mix well.

Grate some fresh parmigiana reggiano on top (optional)

You’ll be left with a delicious plate of pasta, which should be served and enjoyed immediately.

All images courtesy of Lina Stores

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.