Botargo is salted and dried grey mullet or tuna roe. For the first time, I’ve read about this delicacy 5 years ago in my Italian friend’s blog. She used botarga in her pasta recipe. I was intrigued and looking for an opportunity to taste it since then. It finally happened this year! When I asked my Facebook friends to share their favorite recipes, I wanted to find something else interesting besides pasta, but ended up making pasta anyway. Купилась на этот текст:

Nikolajeva Valentina Чесночинку пожарить в оливковом масле и выкинуть, сливки прогреть, боттаргу натертую всыпать, туда спагетти альденте. Посыпать пармезаном.”

The only change to these basic instructions was squid ink added to my fresh pasta dough. The whole piece of dry fish roe might look boring. Once grated or thinly sliced, its bright amber beauty becomes vivid. In my opinion, it needed proper background in terms of color and flavor.

Russian-speaking food bloggers jokingly compare botarga flavor to taranka — salted and dried fish, a popular down-to-earth snack in Ukrainian and Russian cultures to enjoy with beer. It is true, they have a lot in common, including preparation. Taranka is taranka, but I was sure nothing like botarga was known in slavic cuisines. And was proved wrong:

Irina Ignatieva Очень даже известен! Галаган на Дону это сушеная икра судака, употребляется по вдохновению в местных блюдах и просто под водку. Ястыки высушивают и хранят долго, всю зиму. Раньше, по-крайней мере, когда рыбой жили. Галаган можно подкоптить. Используют не так пафосно, как в пятизвездочных ресторанах. Раскрошенной икрой щедро посыпать отваренный молодой картофель со сливочным маслом и укропом. Щедро — это значит ОЧЕНЬ много. Или галаган немного размачивают и растирают с маслом намазать ТОЛСТЫМ слоем на черный хлеб.

So, my next step with botarga will be baked Russet potatoes. I also see sweet potatoes and squashes — steamed or roasted, mashed or baked, soups or casseroles — adorned with botarga. Mmmmm!

Have you tried botarga? If not, what stops you?

Fresh Sepia Pasta with Botarga

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time12 hrs 25 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bottarga, caviar, cream, fresh pasta, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, recipe, sauce, seafood, sepia | squid ink
Servings: 2 portions


for pasta dough (4 portions)

  • 170 g semolina
  • 63 g egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp squid ink
  • 1 tbsp water

for botarga sauce (2 portions)

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlc
  • 2 oz botarga adjust to your taste
  • 60 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


for making fresh pasta

  • If you're like me, working full-time with long-distance commute, start making pasta in the morning. It takes 5 minutes max. In a bowl, mix all ingredients (I use chopsticks), cover, and let semolina hydrate while you drink your coffee or eat breakfast. It'll look like crumbs. In about 10-15 minutes knead them into a dough. See my hands? Wear gloves, if you don't want your coworkers ask you funny questions. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
    Fresh Sepia Pasta
  • The first two things you need to do when you come home are: 1) take your pasta dough and botarga out of the fridge and 2) start heating a large pot of water. I use 1 1/2 gallons of water for cooking two portions of fresh pasta. They'll be ready by the time you're ready to start cooking you quick fancy dinner.
  • Ready? Make pasta. Dust it with all-purpose flour and spread on your counter.
    Fresh Sepia Pasta

for cooking fresh pasta and botarga sauce

  • While you are working on pasta, ask your Hungry Other(s) to prep botarga. It is usually sealed with beeswax. After some time outside the fridge, beeswax becomes softer and it is easy to remove it with sharp knife. Slice a few thin slices for garnish, and grate the rest.
  • Finely dice shallot. Smash garlic cloves. Warm serving plates.
  • Start cooking pasta and sauce at the same time. Both take about 3-4 minutes to cook. Generously salt boiling water, and add pasta.
    Fresh Sepia Pasta
  • In a sauce pan, on medium heat, saute smashed garlic until fragrant. Remove it. Add shallot, saute until soft and sweet. Add room temperature cream and grated botarga, stir and cook on low heat for a minute.
  • Strain cooked pasta. Scoop half of the sauce on two serving plates, arrange pasta on top, scoop the rest of the sauce on top of pasta, sprinkle with grated and sliced botarga. Enjoy!
    Fresh Sepia Pasta with Botarga
Fresh Sepia Pasta with Botarga