Spaghetti with Grey Mullet Bottarga

Dino Joannides

Dino Joannides

23rd December 2014

Spaghetti with Grey Mullet Bottarga

Bottarga is the naturally dried roe from grey mullet (muggine) or tuna and is thought to have been introduced to the coastal areas of Italy by the Phoenicians around the 8th century BC. With high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a strong umami (savoury) flavour and a concentrated fishy aroma, bottarga tends to be either loved or hated.


  • 3–4 litres fumetto (see page 158)
  • 360–400 g best bronze die spaghetti (allow 100 g per person as a main dish, but 80–90 g as part of a multi-course meal)
  • 4–5 tablespoons delicate extra virgin olive oil, probably from Sardinia or Liguria (avoid very fruity or pungent oils)
  • 60–80 g bottarga di muggine (do not skimp)
  • 2–3 teaspoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley


Bring the fumetto to the boil.

Add the spaghetti (no salt is needed) and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, take a large frying pan and cover the bottom with the olive oil. Warm it slightly, then turn off the heat. Grate about a third of the bottarga into the pan. Cut another third of the bottarga into thin strips and set aside for garnish.

When the pasta is al dente, drain well, but reserve half a cupful of the fumetto.

Add the pasta to the frying pan and toss with the bottarga, moving the pan to and fro.

Now add 2–3 tablespoons of the reserved fumetto and keep mixing until the oil and starchy stock create an emulsion. You can add more olive oil if necessary to get the right emulsification.

Serve the spaghetti in deep pasta dishes, grating the remaining bottarga over each portion, then decorate with the reserved bottarga strips and a little parsley

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