Sicilian Spaghetti with Bottarga di Tonno

by eat in my kitchen

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon

Marzamemi! This is the name of a picturesque fishing village in southern Sicily in the Syracuse region. It’s right by the sea, with two churches – an old and a new one – both dedicated to the village’s patron San Franceso built around the historic piazza which is, as in every Mediterranean village, the lively centre especially at night.

Two years ago we spent an evening in Marzamemi, strolled through the narrow alleys, between the old limestone houses where  fishermen used to live. We passed a beautiful artisan market which was still open at night and enjoyed the sight of all the restaurants which had placed their long tables outside in the piazza where families already filled the air with laughter and the delicious smell of seafood. We couldn’t wait any longer to join them and went straight to the restaurant at the sea where our table was waiting for us, but as we wanted to sit down we spotted an old storehouse with a big, open gate and people walking in and out. Curiosity was still stronger than our appetite, so we took a look.

We went inside a huge hall piled high with fish products, mainly made of bluefin tuna but also anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and swordfish. I discovered food I had never seen before, tuna salami for example, I had to buy it! It tasted interesting, salty, something I would have to eat a few times and try out a few combinations to get used to it. They also sold the famous Bottarga di Tonno, the dried roe pouch of bluefin tuna. If it’s in one piece, you slice it thinly over spaghetti, grated you sprinkle it over a quick pasta dish. Its taste is distinct and salty, it comes from a fish with a strong flavour and you can taste it!

I haven’t eaten it since my last visit to Sicily so I was happy to finally open a jar of grated Bottarga di Tonno again and mix it with my pasta. I like to add some lemon (juice and zest), garlic, parsley and coarsely crushed black pepper.

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon

Spaghetti with Bottarga di Tonno, Lemon and Parsley

For this meal I suggest you warm up the plates in the oven.

For 2 people you need
(the amounts are matched to taste, just play around and season to your own taste)

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
olive oil 6 tablespoons
garlic, cut in half, 2 cloves
grated Bottarga di Tonno 4-6 heaped teaspoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
lemon zest 2 teaspoon
parsley, chopped, 4 heaped tablespoons
salt and coarsely crushed black pepper

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water till al dente.

Heat up the oil in a sauce pan, add the garlic and take the pan off the heat, let it infuse the oil for a couple minutes and add the lemon juice.

After the pasta is mixed with the warm oil and divided between the plates, sprinkle with parsley, lemon zest, pepper and salt and add the bottarga di tonno to taste.

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon

 

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon

 

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon

 

Pasta with Bottarga di Tonno, Parsley and Lemon