Mentaiko Pasta

Cod Roe Pasta

I first heard about this dish after my sister raved about it when she tried it in New York. She described it as a spicy and creamy cod roe pasta. I remember hearing this for the first time and thinking how odd it was to have cod roe in pasta. What could that possibly taste like? After making it myself for the first time, I was in love! I’ve had japanese food for years at Japanese restaurants, but never once did I see cod roe pasta on the menu. I thought to myself, “Where has this been all my life?” 

Having visited Japan over the years, I’ve definitely observed a new realm of Japanese cuisine that blends the comforts of Italian food with the umami flavors of Japanese cuisine. From Naples style pizza to mentaiko pasta, Japanese cuisine has evolved to blend the best of both worlds. After making it once, I couldn’t stop. The salted cod roe or mentaiko is salty and grainy in texture with a umami flavor that tastes like the ocean. 

Cod Roe Pasta

Cod roe is very delicate and can be eaten raw or cooked in indirect heat. Directly cooking it on a stove will turn the little balls of roe hard, which will ultimately change the taste and texture. Indirect heat like using hot cooked pasta to mix the cod roe with will warm up the cod roe without overcooking it. 

The light creaminess of the pasta combined with the umami flavor of the salted cod raw, which is perfect Asian palettes. This dish can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes for a quick lunch or simply a noodle dish for parties. It is also super affordable, costing less than $10 and feeding up to 2 people. Mentaiko also has a great shelf life and can be kept in the freezer for months, and takes about 10 minutes to defrost. This is a dish that is best served fresh, as reheating it as leftovers will alter the taste and texture. I hope you enjoy this wonderful Japanese comfort food! Bon appetit!

Ingredients

  • One small pack of mentaiko that sometimes has 2-3 pieces of spicy cod roe
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 lb of Spaghetti
  • 3 pieces of seaweed

Directions

  1. Heat a pot of water on high heat with the lid on
  2. Once water boils, put two servings of dime size spaghetti in the pot and let it boil on high heat for about 11 minutes

3. On a cutting board, use small knife to slice cod roe from top to bottom but not cutting through to the bottom of the skin

4. Use a small metal spoon to scrape the Mentaiko out of the skin and put into mixing bowl

5. Keep scraping with spoon and use other hand to hold down skin until all of the cod roe is out of the skin

6. Discard skin

7. Cut butter into small increments and put into mixing bowl with mentaiko

8. Pour milk into mixing bowl

9. Using scissors cut the seaweed into small slices

10. Once spaghetti is done cooking, drain pasta in colander right away and drain away all water

11. Using tongs, mix spaghetti into mixing bowl with cod roe mixture and keep mixing with tongs and adding spaghetti at the same time

12. The warm spaghetti will melt the butter and warm the cod roe

13. Serve Mentaiko pasta on plate with cut seaweed on top as garnish

Print

Mentaiko Pasta

The light creaminess of the pasta combined with the umami flavor of the salted cod raw, which is perfect Asian palettes. This dish can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes for a quick lunch or simply a noodle dish for parties. It is also super affordable, costing less than $10 and feeding up to 2 people. Mentaiko also has a great shelf life and can be kept in the freezer for months, and takes about 10 minutes to defrost. This is a dish that is best served fresh, as reheating it as leftovers will alter the taste and texture.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Ingredients

Scale

  • One small pack of mentaiko that sometimes has 2-3 pieces of spicy cod roe

  • 2 tablespoons of butter

  • ¼ cup of milk

  • Salt to taste

  • ¼ lb of Spaghetti

  • 3 pieces of small seaweed

Instructions

  1. Heat a pot of water on high heat with the lid on

  2. Once water boils, put two servings of dime size spaghetti in the pot and let it boil on high heat for about 11 minutes

  3. On a cutting board, use small knife to slice cod roe from top to bottom but not cutting through to the bottom of the skin

  4. Use a small metal spoon to scrape the mentaiko out of the skin and put into mixing bowl

  5. Keep scraping with spoon and use other hand to hold down skin until all of the cod roe is out of the skin

  6. Discard skin

  7. Cut butter into small increments and put into mixing bowl with mentaiko

  8. Pour milk into mixing bowl

  9. Using scissors cut the seaweed into small slices

  10. Once spaghetti is done cooking, drain pasta in colander right away and drain away all water

  11. Using tongs, mix spaghetti into mixing bowl with cod roe mixture and keep mixing with tongs and adding spaghetti at the same time

  12. The warm spaghetti will melt the butter and warm the cod roe

  13. Serve mentaiko pasta on plate with cut seaweed on top as garnish

Notes

  1. Using half and half or heavy cream will give the sauce a thicker texture

  2. Japanese supermarkets sell spaghetti that vary in size, depending on the size of your spaghetti, follow the directions for proper cook 

  3. There are two types of mentaiko, spicy and non spicy, I like to use spicy cod roe for this recipe

  4. I like to use the method of grouping the dry spaghetti to measure and see if it is dime size, which is roughly the estimate for one serving

 

 

Keywords: Mentaiko Pasta, Cod Roe Pasta

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2 thoughts on “Mentaiko Pasta

  1. Super easy, delicious, and quick meal! This recipe is simple to follow but the dish tastes gourmet. Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely make this over and over again.

    Things to note: I liked spicy cod roe over regular as well. Also, will try making it with heavy cream next time instead of milk for a creamier texture as suggested 🙂

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