Bottarga—cured fish roe typical of Sardinian and Sicilian cookery—is an unusual but tasty treat. It has a unique flavor that reminds me of a cross between caviar and anchovy but more delicate than either. Like a good, aged Parmesan or pecorino cheese, bottarga lends itself beautifully to grating over pasta.
There are a number of ways of making spaghetti con la bottarga, but my favorite is also the simplest. Italians often talk about ‘dressing’ pasta but here is an instance when that’s literally true: You toss the pasta with grated bottarga and best quality extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, as if it were actually a salad, until the pasta is well coated and takes on a rich orange hue. The subtlest use of garlic imaginable–just rubbing the inside of the bowl—adds just a hint of that savory allium.
- 500g (1 lb) spaghetti
- 75g (2-1/2 oz) bottarga, peeled and grated (and more for topping your pasta)
- 2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
- Best quality extra virgin olive oil