Bottarga is the cured roe of grey mullet or tuna, and if you can possibly track it down then you should just buy it. It's not exactly cheap, but the pungent fish flavor is seriously addictive, and a little bit goes a long way. I picked some up at my favorite Italian market in Chicago, JP Graziano's, and split a package with fellow Dinner Tonight columnist Blake Royer.
Recipes that use it are usually breathtakingly simple, letting the bottarga do most of the work. This recipe from My Sicily is no different. The sauce is nothing more than garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes cooked for a minute in olive oil. It's all a frame to let the bottarga shine. A dusting of toasted almonds helps give the pasta a bit more texture, but it's still the developed funkiness of bottarga that makes this dish.
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Bottarga, grated
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ounce almonds, toasted
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.
Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic, half the parsley, and hot pepper flakes. Cook for a minute, or until very fragrant. Turn of the heat and add half of the bottarga.
Transfer the garlic and parsley mixture to a large bowl. When the pasta is finished cook, reserve a 1/4 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta in a colander. Add the pasta to the large bowl and stir well.
Add the rest of the parsley and bottarga. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.