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In today's Weekly Recipe Review, perfect paella, plus poached peaches for the rest of summer
Toss some bottarga on top of spaghetti.
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- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup coarsely ground breadcrumbs (from a baguette ground in a food processor)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound bucatini or perciatelli pasta
- 6 cloves Martha's Roasted Garlic
- 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons grated bottarga, plus more ungrated for garnish (about 3 ounces total)
- 3 tablespoons very coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons oil and the butter in a skillet over medium heat until butter foams. Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Squeeze pulp from skins of roasted garlic into skillet, and add sliced garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer pasta directly from boiling water to skillet. Toss to coat. Add 2 tablespoons grated bottarga, the parsley, and half the breadcrumbs, and toss. Transfer to a platter. Season with salt.
Sprinkle pasta with remaining breadcrumbs. Grate a generous amount of bottarga on top. Serve.
Pasta With Bottarga Is an Effortlessly Elegant Weeknight Meal Recipe
Why It Works
- Toasting whole garlic cloves in olive oil lends the sauce a subtle allium aroma without distracting from the main flavor of the dish: briny, salty bottarga.
- Steeping grated bottarga off-heat in warm olive oil coaxes out its delicate aroma.
- Cooking the pasta in a small amount of water produces super-starchy pasta water that is ideal for emulsifying the sauce, which is brought together simply by tossing and stirring the noodles off-heat.
Seafood is a prominent feature of Italy's regional coastal cuisines. While there's no shortage of unique seafood dishes that can only be found in specific villages at a certain times of the year, there's also a lot of overlap of culinary techniques and principles. Grilled fish at a restaurant on the Amalfi coast will look pretty similar to grilled fish in Ostia, even if the kind of fish used might be different odds are it'll be a whole fish, stuffed with sliced lemon and herbs, and it'll be filleted table-side.
For pastas, one of the tried and true templates for incorporating seafood is tossing a dried long pasta like spaghetti with aglio e olio e peperonciono (olive oil, garlic, and chile) and a briny regional delicacy. That specialty item could be tiny "vongole veraci" clams for spaghetti alle vongole, or colatura di alici, a fish sauce from the town of Cetara, for spaghetti con la colatura di alici. Or, if you're in Sardinia, it could be bottarga, for, you guessed it, spaghetti con la bottarga.
For the uninitiated, bottarga is a fish's roe sac—most commonly grey mullet—that is salted, massaged to expel air pockets, then pressed and dried. As Sho notes in his excellent guide to bottarga, it's not just a delicacy in Italy—known as karasumi in Japanese, and butarkah in Arabic, it's highly valued in cuisines across the globe. In Italy, mullet bottarga, or bottarga di muggine, is a specialty of Sardinia, where the roe sacs were traditionally sun-dried after salting. With a texture similar to cured egg yolks or a firm pecorino cheese, bottarga is perfect for grating, which unlocks its delicate but assertive mineral flavor and aroma. It's an ingredient made for pairing with pasta.
This simple dish starts by browning a couple of smashed garlic cloves in plenty of olive oil (you could also mince the garlic and gently cook it, or keep it raw as in my spaghetti con la colatura recipe). Once the oil is infused with the toasty allium aroma, the garlic comes out (you can rub the garlic on toast, repurpose it for another dish, or discard it) and chiles go in to bloom. I then remove the skillet from the heat and stir in a heaping handful of grated bottarga. Cooking bottarga is a no-no, seeing as high heat mutes its punchy flavor, but steeping the grated roe in warm olive oil coaxes out its best qualities.
The body provided by the grated bottarga, along with starchy pasta cooking water, helps to bring the sauce together into a creamy emulsion without the need for the on-heat finishing step called mantecatura. Some vigorous tossing and stirring is all you need to coat al dente spaghetti. Fresh lemon juice and zest, and some chopped parsley bring acidity and freshness to the dish. The pasta gets plated up and then showered with a fresh grating of bottarga to highlight its flavor in the first few bites.
FRIED BREAD CRUMBS
First of all, pour 6 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil in a little pan and place over medium heat.
Fry the Panko bread crumbs into the hot but not smoking olive oil until golden, constantly stirring.
Finally, dry them over paper towels. Pay a big attention frying the bread, it cooks very quickly and is easy to burn!
What is bottarga?
Bottarga is salt-cured fish roe with origins from Mediterranean places like Sardinia, Sicily, Greece and Turkey.
It&rsquos 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&rsquos grated and sold in 2-3 oz sealed glass jars (this is what we are using for this recipe).
Bottarga, is often called gold of the Mediterranean.
Both for its qualities and price. But don&rsquot 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&rsquoll 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&rsquos definitely not the price of saffron, caviar or truffles.
You can get it online for about $35 + free shipping and it&rsquoll be enough for 10-12 servings.
I&rsquoll 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&rsquos see how this luxury, delicate and simple magic pasta is prepared.
20 Spaghetti Recipes That Go Way Beyond Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti has got to be the most popular pasta variety, at least here in the U.S. It’s a staple for any pasta-lover’s pantry—and probably the most called-for noodle in SAVEUR’s pasta recipes. Although we appreciate the beloved red-sauced spaghetti and meatballs, some days call for a more unique twist. Spaghetti is super versatile—it plays well with all kinds of vegetables and proteins and can even be cooked in red wine or a flower-infused broth instead of the usual salted water for a colorful—and flavorful—supper. Whether you’re looking to twirl your fork into an Italian classic like pasta carbonara, amatriciana, puttanesca, or pomodoro, or an all-American casserole like turkey tetrazzini, our best spaghetti recipes have you covered.
Spaghetti CarbonaraReal Roman spaghetti carbonara should never be made with cream.
Seafood Pasta with Tomatoes, Chiles, and MintCooling fresh mint tempers the heat of the spicy tomato sauce in this bountiful seafood pasta.Get the recipe for Seafood Pasta with Tomatoes, Chiles, and Mint »
Spaghetti PrimaveraI believe it started in 1975, when I visited Prince Edward Island with a number of colleagues, including Craig Claiborne of the New York Times. To eat we had only lobster and wild boar. After a week of this, everyone said, “Can we have some pasta?” I set out to make two dishes, one with vegetables, one Alfredo style. But in the end I mixed it all together, vegetables with spaghetti and cream. Get the recipe for Spaghetti Primavera »
Lemon-Infused Spaghetti with Oil and ProvoloneCook your pasta in fragrant lemon water. Get the recipe for Lemon-Infused Spaghetti with Oil and Provolone »
Spaghetti all’AmatricianaChef Rachael Grossman of Artigiano in Portland produces a flawless version of this Italian pasta classic, which uses a slow-simmered tomato sauce infused with lots of bacon. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2012 issue along with Dana Bowen’s story Food of the People. Get the recipe for Spaghetti all’Amatriciana »
Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lamb and Sweet Pepper Ragù
Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato PastaRoasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple summer meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »
Turkey TetrazziniTurkey Tetrazzini Rumor has it that pasta puttanesca–literally “whore’s pasta”–was a quick and easy dinner of choice among Neapolitan working ladies, but the dish’s salacious history is unlikely. Get the recipe for Classic Spaghetti Puttanesca »
Summer BologneseThis recipe for summer bolognese has the classic comfort of bolognese, but without the heaviness of a red sauce, instead embracing the summer’s bounty of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh basil.
Spaghettoni with Jasmine, Saffron, and Chamomile
Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant)Chef Sara Jenkins of New York City’s Porchetta gave us the recipe for this spicy, comforting pasta dish, inspired by one made by Italian chef Salvatore Denaro. Get the recipe for Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant) »
Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized FennelWe like to serve this pasta topped with a little shaved bottarga, the dried salted roe of tuna or gray mullet a sprinkle adds a briny, salty note that beautifully offsets sweet, oven roasted plum tomatoes. Get the recipe for Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Fennel »
Wayne Thiebaud’s Spaghetti with Mizithra CheeseIn the spirit of a classic carbonara, artist Wayne Thiebaud’s recipe from the California Artists Cookbook (Abbeville Press, 1982) combines smoky bacon and prosciutto with egg yolks and mizithra, an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Greece, for a gloriously rich dish. Get the recipe for Wayne Thiebaud’s Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese »
Spaghetti Con GamberiSweet langoustines are the ideal foil for fresh cherry tomato sauce in this simple, flavorful pasta dish. Slivers of roasted seaweed add a surprisingly delicious hit of umami. Get the recipe for Spaghetti Con Gamberi »
Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti
Spaghetti with Lobster (Spaghetti all’Astice)
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Cooking Instructions for Spaghetti with Bottarga
Roast bread crumbs and finely chopped blanched almonds on a pan in the oven to give them crispy, crunchy texture. Be sure to watch them carefully and avoid burning.
Separately, grate the bottarga and lemon rind. Combine this mixture with chopped parsley and dried crushed red pepper.
As you are making these preparations, cook your spaghetti in a pot until al dente. In a pan, saute chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil. When the spaghetti is cooked, toss it into the pan with the garlic and olive oil. Once the spaghetti has absorbed these flavors, top it with the bottarga mixture and the bread crumb mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!
Bottarga is a product derived from the processing of mullet or tuna roe. In summer the mullets are caught and selected, and their eggs are extracted with great care. This phase is extremely delicate: it is important not to damage the sack containing the eggs.
Once extracted, these are washed with water and ice and well cleaned. After that, the sacks are sprinkled with salt and left to rest. Finally, the fish sacks are washed, pressed and prepared for drying. It's in this last stage that bottarga take its characteristic scent and color.
Recipe: spaghetti with bottarga
The best things need little adornment. Purists eat their caviar off the back of their hand: even a blini is deemed to get in the way. Likewise, white truffles need only a little help. Something hot and richly bland – such as scrambled egg, risotto or fonduta – are the ideal vehicles. Bottarga is in the same exalted category, where less in the way of adornment is definitely more.
In Italy, especially Sardinia and Sicily, this delicacy is simply presented, usually as the principle flavouring for a pasta. Occasionally, it might be deployed as an enhancer in dishes with other seafood – sea urchins and cuttlefish come to mind – or vegetables such as artichokes or fennel. In Lebanon, bottarga is simply shaved on to a piece of warm flatbread and dressed with a little olive oil and a thin slice of raw garlic.
I suspect that bottarga may have its origins in that area. Although normally credited to the ancient Egyptians, bottarga turns up in those parts of the Mediterranean – Tunisia, Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, Greece, Turkey – where we know the Phoenicians were most active.
The best bottarga is made with the roe of an unfashionable fish, the grey mullet, though that made from tuna has its supporters. A lot of grey mullet tastes unpleasant, mainly due to its habit of hanging out around sewage outfalls, but I have eaten freshly caught grey mullet on the Cotentin peninsula of Normandy and found it to be exceptionally good.
In the Mediterranean, the fish is prized only for the roe of the female, which has to be extracted carefully so that its enclosing membrane is not ruptured. The roe is massaged to eliminate air pockets and then dried and cured in sea salt for a few weeks. Once a hard slab is produced it is sometimes coated in beeswax, sometimes not, and then sold for quite a lot of money. My 130g packet cost ꌙ, which makes it about 20 times more expensive than the fish it came from but about 10 times cheaper than caviar and 20 times cheaper than white truffles. It is not such a bad deal really.
Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais
Spaghetti with bottarga
This is a dish that should be done in “real time”, ie it should take no longer than the eight or so minutes required to cook the pasta. A good starter portion, in my view, is 80g. Serves six.
½ bunch flat parsley leaves
A large pinch of red chilli flakes
● Put a large pot of water with a dessertspoon of salt on to boil. Once the water comes to the boil, slip in the spaghetti and stir a couple of times to separate the strands and keep cooking at a gentle boil. Wash the parsley, pick the leaves from the stems and chop them quite finely.
● Peel and chop the cloves of garlic very finely and then heat a large pan with half the olive oil. Add the garlic and let it soften gently before adding the chilli flakes. If the spaghetti is not ready, just add a ladle of its water to the garlic to stop it browning. As soon as the spaghetti is cooked, ie still firm but not hard and starchy in the middle, usually 8-9 minutes, lift it out and add it to the garlic and chilli mixture. Grate half the bottarga on to the spaghetti and toss into it. Grate the zest of the lemon and add, before adding the parsley and then squeezing the juice of the lemon over the ensemble. Mix again, taste and then stir in the remaining olive oil.
● Divide the spaghetti between six plates and grate the remaining bottarga over the pasta at the table.
Rowley’s drinking choice
A rich, oily, aromatic white, such as Vermentino. Avoid 𠇋outique” wines that have been a little heavy with the oak: even rich bottarga will recoil from oak’s overenthusiastic embrace.
How to make Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Bottarga
Brown the garlic in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some chili pepper (1).
Add the yellow cherry tomatoes and cook for a few minutes (2).
Add 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste (3) and melt well.
Add the white wine and black olives, then continue cooking over medium heat for 10-15 minutes (4).
Cook the scialatielli pasta in boiling and lightly salted water, then drain it al dente and pour it into a pan with the creamy sauce of yellow cherry tomatoes and black olives (5).
Stir the scialatielli pasta over a high flame, adding a drop of cooking water if necessary, and then season with salt and pepper (6).
Distribute the scialatielli pasta on individual plates, complete with a sprinkling of bottarga and a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil, and serve (7).