Pasta con Bottarga
Pasta con Bottarga Recipe
In 1988, Giuliano Bugialli released a great cookbook called Bugialli on Pasta. (Simon and Schuster, 1988) Not only is it a great resource for many types of traditional vegetable and meat sauces for pasta, but it also contains a lot of information about regional pasta shapes and making pasta out of variety of flours. This recipe is an adaptation from one of Giulliano's recipes.
So, of course, when we were looking for information about pasta and bottarga, we turned to Giuliano - and we were not disappointed. The reality is that most of the pasta sauces are pretty simple, and this recipe is no exception. In Italy, it is more about the quality and fresh flavor of the ingredients. If you start with the right ingredients, the outcome will be great.
Bottarga is pressed salted mullet or tuna roe. It is a very common ingredients in Sardinia and Sicily, where seafood is abundant. However, bottarga is also gaining in popularity in the US - as more and more traditional imported products become available. Since the flavors of the bottarga is quite strong, it doesn't take much to make your pasta dish sing.
4 oz tonno or muggine bottarga - thinly sliced
20 sprigs of Italian parsley - leaves only
2 large hard-neck garlic cloves - peeled
3/4 cup olive oil - ideally Italian olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound dried long pasta - ideally from Italy
1. Finely chop approximately half of the bottarga together with the parsley and set aside in a glass bowl. Finely chop the remainder of the bottarga with the garlic. Mix with other ingredients, and add olive oil a little at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Season with pepper to taste, and cover and place in the fridge.
2. Cook pasta in large pot of salted water until pasta is cooked al dente - 9-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, coarsely chop parsley leaves. When done, drain pasta add sauce and toss well. Transfer to serving bowl, top with parsley and some pepper, and serve.