A classic of Sardinian cuisine, pasta alla bottarga will be one of the first dishes you will try or be offered when visiting Sardinia (or a Sardinian friend). Bottarga is the gold of Sardinia: like a parmesan of the sea, this delicatessen, made of dry fish roe, will give that extra flavour to any seafood meal, especially when we talk about risotto or pasta, it is a must to add a little as a final touch. This recipe, like all Italian classics, is open to be changed to your taste and you will find, when you speak with different Italians or Sardinians, that each of them have their own style. The puritans will tell you that the best way is to add just a drizzle of olive oil to your pasta and a teaspoon or two of bottarga and your dish is ready. I’m a garlic lover and I like to create a cream with the bottarga, so below I add butter to it: far from the tradition, which would probably favour animal fat. Also, to this same recipe you can add a crushed red chilli pepper if you like it hot, a teaspoon or two of lemon zest if you want to add aroma, or squeeze a bit of lemon juice before serving to make it taste fresher. Bear in mind, I’m using linguine for this recipe, but you can use the pasta you like, even if long pasta is recommended as the sauce sticks nicely to it.
Ingredients for two:
200 gr linguine
1 garlic clove
4 tbsp of grated bottarga
1 bunch of garlic, finely chopped
25 gr butter
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Put some salted water to the fire till it boils. While you wait for it to boil, add the butter and the extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan, as soon as the butter starts melting, add the garlic and half of the bottarga. If you, like me, like garlic, slice it to your favourite size, but if you’d rather just have the flavour without having to bite on it later, add the whole garlic clove so it will be easy for you to take it out before adding the pasta. Fry these only till the garlic is golden and you have obtained a slightly thicker paste out of the ingredients, then leave it there to rest.
When the water is boiling, add the pasta to the water and cook it to the time indicated in the box, but always make sure you taste it in order to get your favourite consistency.
Once it is ready, drain the pasta and put it in the pan with your creamy bottarga. Turn the fire on and gently toss the pasta so it absorbs and picks up the flavour of the creamy bottarga. It will start frying so please be careful not to cook it for too long, and if you have trouble tossing the pasta you can always keep the fire low in order not to fry your pasta too much.
Now that your pasta has absorbed all the flavours, you can start serving the dishes, where you will add a teaspoon of grated bottarga to each and a sprinkle of parsley. Buon appetito!