First posted in 2011, updated in Mar 2015.
Mentaiko is marinated pollock roe and a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Using it to make mentaiko pasta (明太子パスタ) is my favourite way to enjoy this ingredient. This Italian-Japanese pasta is usually quite expensive on the menu, but easily less than half the price and more than double the roe, to make at home.
- Ingredient Spotlight: Mentaiko
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As gourmet as this pasta may sound and look, it is actual the simplest pasta recipe out there! The sauce does not require stove-top cooking and took me 5 minutes. The only real cooking I did was to cook the pasta (spaghetti).
To make the 5-minute sauce, I basically melted butter in the microwave, then whisked in the other ingredients in a small bowl.
There are two main types of spicy ‘karashi’ mentaiko (辛子明太子) you can find at the local Japanese supermarkets. The colourless type will result in a colourless pasta with visible bits of roe in it. On the other hand, the coloured type (featured in this recipe; pictured above), will result in a slight salmon pink pasta sauce. Click here to read more information about mentaiko.