SUPER Quick and Easy Japanese Cod Roe Pasta Recipe

Japanese Cod Roe Pasta
Japanese Cod Roe Pasta with Nori Seaweed Topping

As a kid and recent immigrant to the US, I remember being teased by a classmate because “you people eat raw meat!” As a kindergartner, I must have been offended by his derogatory tone – but what I remember more clearly is my amazement at how misinformed he was. “Are all Americans this ignorant?,” I wondered.

Thinking about it now, that kid was probably referring to our consumption of raw fish … something that was probably considered barbaric by the average American way back then. But fast forward a few decades … and my bets are on the grown-up, hippy version of that kid being a “woke”, proud, self-proclaimed lover of sushi. I supposed we have come a long way in cultural acceptance, at least in the food – or foodie – sphere.

Cod roe pasta is not something new to the Italian menu, but the Japanese version of it has such a wonderful mix of flavors that it’s become a popular item on the Japanese menu.  Butter and soy sauce is truly a match made in heaven, and the addition of the cod roe elevates the umami to a whole new level. This pasta is incredibly simple to make – yes, you can prepare the sauce while the pasta is boiling – and requires just a handful of ingredients. If you can get your hands on some tarako (Japanese salted cod roe), the flavor-to-effort ratio is off the charts!

Ingredients:

  • One pack of dry spaghetti (1 lb)
  • Two sacks(?) of tarako (Japanese salted pollock roe) – or mentaiko (spicy version)
  • 1/3 Cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Cut nori (dried seaweed) – optional
  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water – keep it al dente, and reserve some pasta water
  2. While the pasta is cooking, mix the tarako, milk and soy sauce in a small bowl
  3. When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with butter
  4. Mix the tarako sauce into the pasta, add pasta water (1/2 Cup or more, to desired consistency)
  5. Sprinkle with cut nori and enjoy!!

I know it’s only 10am, but I am already looking forward to my lunch …  leftovers!

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One Reply to “SUPER Quick and Easy Japanese Cod Roe Pasta Recipe”

  1. This post is making me hungry!!! The cool thing about this recipe is that you do not seem to find it in restaurants, despite the fact that Spaghetti alla Bottarga (a somewhat similar Italian version) is in many cookbooks. So my suggestion to all foodies out there is: try it!

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