WHAT IS IT?
Spaghetti alla Bottarga or Spaghetti with Bottarga is a pasta recipe fused with Mullet roe, a fish found aplenty in Sardinian waters. This recipe is a smooth twist to the well-known Spaghetti dish in Italy. The bottarga is a treasure in itself; it acts as a flavor enhancer and needs nothing more to garnish the dish. This delicacy is a people-pleaser and a must try for everyone who visits Sardinia.
Bottarga is the creation of Phoenicians (Ancient Greek civilization), who used the Mullet eggs as an ingredient. The Arabs were the ones responsible for spreading the Bottarga cuisine all around the Mediterranean. They regarded it as ‘Battarikh’, the caviar of the Mediterranean. Such widespread made the bottarga an expensive commodity even used as gifts. Though similar to Tuna eggs, Mullet eggs are smaller in size and more alluring. It is primarily produced in Sardinia and Sicily, while mullet bottarga is prevalent in Sardinia. These eggs are usually golden in color and get dark with age. Unlike Tuna eggs, Mullet eggs have an almond taste and are a little bitter.
Fresh Bottarga is usually sliced thin and served with a splash of olive oil (Extra virgin). It also compliments a piece of buttered beard finely. In addition to that bottarga is also used as a dressing in basil or cherry salad. Aged bottarga renders its strong flavor to pasta perfectly. Commonly the female grey mullet is used; the roe (eggs) of the fish is rubbed to push out entrapped air and then cured with sea salt after drying. It is cheaper than caviar or white truffles.
The ingredients needed for this platter are:
- Bottarga (Mullet Roe) – 200g
- Spaghetti – 500g
- Shallot (Onion) – 50g
- Parsley (finely chopped) – 2g
- Lemons (zest) – 2
- Butter (Unsalted) – 2 tablespoons
- Extra Virgin Olive oil – 6-8 tablespoons
Firstly heat the frying pan with extra virgin olive oil. Chop the shallot into fine bits and put in the pan. Take two lemons and remove their skins. Slice them into zests and fry them with the shallot while adding the butter. Meanwhile, boil a large bowl of water and when boiled simmer the flame and put the spaghetti in it. Cook it until al dente (firm to bite). Grate the bottarga finely and keep it ready. Dry the pasta off the bowl and add it to the pan with the shallot and add some lemon juice. Then add the bottarga and cook for some minutes while mixing it. Remember to wash every ingredient thoroughly. After cooking, garnish the pasta with the parsley and serve it at once. This dish does not have a shelf life so it should be consumed instantly. Capers and breadcrumbs can also be used to make a variant of the frying sauce.