Los Angeles’ culinary scene is one of the best in the country, and now there’s a book to prove it. Food and travel writer Alison Clare Steingold collected recipes from all the top restaurants in the City of Angels. From Bestia comes the king of all seafood pastas. Make this spaghetti with sea urchin for an extra-special someone or to treat yourself.
It is a luxury to take the time to treat oneself. That’s why the measurements for this over-the-top pasta are listed for one (hungry) person—or two for date night. You can scale it up, but sometimes it’s nice to hang solo with a glass of German Riesling, an old novel you’ve been meaning to finish and a new bowl of pasta that you definitely will.
Bestia’s signature spaghetti rustichella, adapted and super-steamlined here, never seems to disappear from the menu. Chef Ori Menashe makes Calabrian chile and even squid ink bottarga in house; the rest of the us can find all these specialty products at local Italian markets. Depending on your appreciation for spiky sea urchin (uni), start small and calibrate how much or little you’d like to blend in. For those who haven’t yet acquired the taste, nix the urchin and pile on lobster.
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 ounces dry spaghetti
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 heaping teaspoon chopped shallot
- 1 teaspoon chopped Calabrian chile
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 6 tablespoons lobster stock
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock, plus more as needed
- 1 to 5 fresh uni lobes, plus 1 per plate for garnish
- Bottarga, for grating
- 2 thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- fresh lemon juice, for garnish
- sea salt, for garnish
For the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season it aggressively with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook for about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, chile and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently and slowly sweat the vegetables, stirring often, until translucent. If you hear sizzling, reduce the heat. Carefully add the wine, then increase the heat to medium, and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Pour in the lobster stock and cook to reduce and thicken. Add the vegetable stock to the pan.
After 6 minutes, quickly drain the pasta and add to the saucepan. Toss the pasta in the stock mixture to help the sauce come together, adding more vegetable stock, if necessary. Once the sauce is thick and the pasta is al dente, remove from the heat.
In a bowl, use a rubber spatula to smash and smooth the texture of all but one uni. Add the pasta and toss to combine the sauce and uni. Adjust the seasoning, then transfer to a serving bowl or plates. To garnish, grate bottarga over the bowl and sprinkle with basil and parsley. Garnish with the final piece of uni on top, seasoned with 2 drops of lemon juice, a sprinkle of seas salt and a drizzle of oil. Serve while hot.