I've always had a love for caviar. I'm that person who can make a whole meal out of blinis and some good Beluga. I always, always order the mentaiko bowl (spicy cod roe over rice) at Ippudo to have before my regular steaming hot bowl of ramen. And tobiko (salmon roe) is on my short list of things to order at Japanese restaurants. I've got a thing for it--it's that whole savory umami thing that I can't resist.
So when I heard about bottarga, an Italian cured fish roe that can be shaved over pastas, eggs, or just about anything else, I went on an immediate hunt for it, finally coming across an affordable version at the new Il Buco outpost (which, by the way, is amazing) on Great Jones Street next to our CA Creative offices. I made pasta with it the very next day, using a recipe from Mario Batali that is purposefully kept very simple in order to let the flavor of the bottarga shine. It's absolutely delicious. xo
Mario Batali's Spaghetti alla Bottarga
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti, preferably Italian
2 bunches flat Italian parsley, finely chopped, to yield 1/2 cup
6 ounces Bottarga, tuna or mullet
Peeler or small mandolin
Zest of 2 lemons
Heat 6 quarts water to boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat olive oil, red pepper, and garlic over low heat until just fragrant, about 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and pour into oil mixture and add parsley. Toss to mix well over medium heat and pour into warmed serving bowl. Shave Bottarga over bowl, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.