Pasta

Spaghetti alla Bottarga – Salt-Cured Fish Roe Sauce

There are dozens, hundreds and probably even thousands of spaghetti recipes that exist in Italian cuisine. And I made it my mission to introduce to you all of them.

Just kidding 🙂

Well, not because it’s not what I really want, but because imagination on a mom or a grandma cooking for her family is limitless. So as authentic and very special ingredients each of Italian regions carry with its tradition.

I tried for the first time this spaghetti recipe, at my husband’s home, in Sardinia.

And ever since it has become one of, if not THE only go-to spaghetti recipe:

– when you are short on time (think sauce is prepared while pasta is boiling)

– when there is no food in the fridge, literally (all ingredients are dry and can be preserved for a long time)

– anytime when in doubt, this is a gourmet no-fail pasta for any occasion.

In fact, at any given time I keep 4-5 dry ingredients at home.

This way I can cook in an emergency situation, like we’ve just returned from vacation,  all grocery stores going on strike, like I screwed up a dinner lol.

Of course, those are extremes, but in all seriousness, bookmark this trick and recipe.

You never know when it can be a saver.

But before we start, I’m sure you already have a few questions. So let’s start from discovering what bottarga actually is.

What is bottarga?

Bottarga is salt-cured fish roe with origins from Mediterranean places like Sardinia, Sicily, Greece and Turkey.

It’s usually made from grey mullet (Sardinia) or tuna fish roe (Sicily).

Roe sacks are extracted carefully and cleaned thoroughly under the cold running water from the excessive blood.

After that it is massaged with the hands using fine grained salt to remove all air pockets.

Before fish roe is pressed or places for drying salt should be removed. Depedning on the method, it usually takes a few weekd for bottarga to be completely dry and ready to use. It looses about 40% of its original weight after curing.

It has solid texture, amber color and rich briny taste.

After that bottarga sacks are either vacuum-packed or sealed in beeswax.

As an alternative it’s grated and sold in 2-3 oz sealed glass jars (this is what we are using for this recipe).

What is bottarga?

Bottarga, is often called gold of the Mediterranean.

Both for its qualities and price. But don’t let the price scare you away.

Investing in superfood like bottarga packed with zinc, omega-3, vitamins A and D, protein and calcium it will be totally worth it.

Because of its ancient origins, when salt-curing method was used to preserve food this delicacy is also very well preserved even when un-sealed.

Due to its rich briny flavor you’ll only need a few slices or a few pinches to give an incredible aroma and taste to completely transform your plate.

The pasta plate we are about to make in Italy is offered in high class restaurants at about 20 euros per plate(!). All because of the exclusiveness and value of bottarga.

Yes, it is not cheap, but it’s definitely not the price of saffron, caviar or truffles.

You can get it online for about $35 + free shipping and it’ll be enough for 10-12 servings.

I’ll talk more about different types of bottarga, their origins and how you can use it in other recipes over here Bottarga including What Is Bottarga & How To Use It.

But for now, let’s see how this luxury, delicate and simple magic pasta is prepared.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga - Ingredients Serves 2:

Ingredients:

6-8 oz spaghetti

2 large garlic cloves

1 tbsp bottarga (dried mullet or tuna roe)

1 pinch peperoncino (chili flakes)

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation:

Step 1: Start with boiling the water for pasta.

Cook spaghetti or your preferred type of long pasta according to directions on the package.

But spaghetti is not the only type of pasta that goes well with bottarga. You can use almost ANY type of long pasta that is relatively thin. I really love using linguine. But you can use, buccatini, bavette, spaghetti alla chitarra and get the same perfect pasta plate.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe - Step1

Step 2: As your pasta is cooking, chop parsley and crush garlic cloves with a flat knife so it gives the most of its aroma and flavor when cooked.

Place a large skillet pan over medium heat.

Add olive oil, garlic cloves, peperoncino/chili flakes and ½ of all parsley.

We’re reserving the other half of parsley to add at the last minute so it keeps its bright green color and vivid flavor.

Stir for a few minutes or until garlic is lightly brown. At that point you can remove garlic from the pan completely or leave it in there if you don’t mind having it in your plate.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe - Step2

Step 3: Reduce the heat to low. Add ⅓ of bottarga. Stir and simmer for another few minutes adding some more extra virgin olive oil if needed.

Step 4: Drain pasta setting some cooking liquid aside.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe - Step3

Toss pasta into the skillet pan, add remaining bottarga, some cooking liquid if needed.

Toss in the pan for 30-60 seconds, add remaining parsley.

Serve immediately, topping individual plate with a pinch or two of bottarga.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe - Luxury Sardinian Pasta that is a must try!!

Spaghetti alla Bottarga - A Velvety Salt-Cured Fish Roe Sauce

Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 6-8 oz spaghetti
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp bottarga dried mullet or tuna roe
  • 1 pinch peperencino chili flakes
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Start with boiling the water for pasta.
  • Cook spaghetti or your preferred type of long pasta according to directions on the package. If not spaghetti, you can use almost ANY type of long pasta that is relatively thin.
  • As your pasta is cooking, chop parsley and crush garlic cloves with a flat knife so it gives the most of its aroma and flavor when cooked.
  • Place a large skillet pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic cloves, peperencino/chili flakes and ½ of all parsley. We’re reserving the other half of parsley to add at the last minute so it keeps its bright green color and vivid flavor.
  • Stir for a few minutes or until garlic is lightly brown. At that point you can remove garlic from the pan completely or leave it in there if you don’t mind having it in your plate.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add ⅓ of bottarga. Stir and simmer for another few minutes adding some more extra virgin olive oil if needed.
  • Drain pasta setting some cooking liquid aside.
  • Toss pasta into the skillet pan, add remaining bottarga, some cooking liquid if needed.
  • Toss in the pan for 30-60 seconds, add remaining parsley.

Notes

Serve immediately, topping individual plate with a pinch or two of bottarga.
As always, I love hearing from you! Have you ever tried pasta with bottarga?

And if this is the first time you tasting it, let me know how you like it 🙂

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close