Friday, December 26, 2008

Recipe: Mentaiko pasta

Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) pasta seems to be the blogger obsession. I am guilty of always being tempted to order it on the menu when I see it and the thing is, no one really does know what mentaiko pasta is supposed to taste like, do they? Thus, it's kind of a blank canvas on which you can paint your own taste.

Of course, this means that most mentaiko pasta will be out of your taste, which to me, is a dry, cheesy pasta, spicy and taut with mentaiko roe. I had yet to find one in Singapore that I was happy to eat, I vaguely remember one from Macaron which was just way too creamy. That was until I met the one at Raw Kitchen Bar.

Over the weekend, I had a second craving and decided to make my own mentaiko pasta, having searched out Chubby Hubby's version and Joone's version. In the end, I adapted it from the pasta carbonara recipe and it was yummy.

Usually I make four regular helpings so this is the approximate amounts for that size. What you need are:

1. Linguini pasta for four helpings (I usually prefer to use thinner pasta, which is less starchy)
2. 3 eggs
3. 1/2 Cup cream (regular whipping cream, rather than double heavy cream)
4. 200g shaved parmesan
5. 6 shitake mushrooms, sliced into long strips
6. 2 or 3 slices of bacon, diced up into small bits
7. 1 onion diced and I like to add several white stems of spring onions, chopped
8. A handful of Italian parsley, chopped
9. 2 or 3 sacs of mentaiko (in the jap supermarket at the sushi counters in the back, they sell 4 sacs for 12 dollars). So either I make mentaiko pasta twice, or I put all 4 in for a spicier pasta which is also nice.
10. 1 Tbsp of japanese mayonnaise
11. 1 Tbsp of rice vinegar
12. 3 Tbsp of Kenko sesame garlic sauce (optional, I found it wasn't that necessary in the end)
14. Tobiko roe and sliced crispy seawed and seasame seeds, for garnishing.

The first thing to do is slit the sac of the mentaiko and scrape all the roe out.
Mix it with the mayo and vinegar. Cook the pasta, while it is boiling, fry the bacon and onions with a bit of garlic and olive oil in a deep pan. Crack and mix eggs with cheese, cream and parsley. When cooked, transfer the pasta, drained, into the onions and bacon. You want to slightly undercook the pasta, because it will continue to cook with the onions/bacon.

Turn the heat, count to 8, then empty the egg mixture and the mentaiko mixture over the pasta. The heat from the pan and pasta will cook the egg etc onto the pasta. Serve hot with shaved chese, fresh parsley or tobiko roe, sesame seeds and strips of seaweed.

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