Mentaiko Pasta

Mentaiko Pasta Recipe

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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.

See Also:
Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

Mentaiko pasta sauce – no cooking required!

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).

Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

5-minute mentaiko pasta sauce – Just whisk to combine, and they are good to use!

To make the 5-minute sauce, I basically melted butter in the microwave, then whisked in the other ingredients in a small bowl.

Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)

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.

Mentaiko Pasta Recipe

Mentaiko Pasta

Using colorless mentaiko will result in a pale pasta while using the coloured type will result in a pale salmon pink sauce. Be sure to buy the right type of mentaiko accordingly to your preference.

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 60 grams (or one small sac) spicy 'karashi' mentaiko sac (辛子明太子)
  • 1 serving (about 70 grams) spaghetti (or any favourite pasta)
  • sea salt to taste

(A) Mentaiko Sauce

  • 30 grams butter cubed and melted in the microwave
  • 1/4 tsp Japanese shoyu (light soy sauce) to taste
  • 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sake may subsitute with mirin

Topping Suggestion

  • 1 tsp mentaiko see step 1
  • shredded nori (roasted seaweed)
  • finely shredded baby shiso or finely chopped spring onions

Directions

  1. Make a slit on the mentaiko sac and scrap out the roe with a spoon. Discard the membrane. Set aside 1 tsp of roe for garnishing.
  2. In a small bowl, add the fish roe along with (A). Whisk to combine everything together.
  3. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (firm with a bite; usually shaving 2 minutes off recommended cooking time for spaghetti). Drain pasta and reserve a small cup of pasta water.
  4. Add the mentaiko sauce to the drained pasta while it is still hot. Toss until even. If the pasta is too dry, add a bit of reserved pasta water to help bind the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt if needed.
  5. Dish the pasta to a serving plate. Garnish with mentaiko, shredded nori and shiso or spring onions.

Noob Cook Tip

If you prefer a richer taste, you can add 1 tablespoon of cream (to taste) to the mentaiko sauce.