Spicy mentaiko, cream, butter and soy sauce. Could this be the ultimate combination for an unforgettable Japanese style spaghetti? I always finish the pasta in the mentaiko sauce. As for toppings I don’t think you can go wrong with a little nori (dried seaweed), shiso and a little dollop of mentaiko. What do you think ?
This creamy mentaiko pasta is my go to Japanese spaghetti recipe.
When I want something somewhat rich but not overly so, I make mentaiko pasta.
A little bit of cream, butter and soy sauce are the main ingredients.
And of course karakuchi (spicy) mentaiko.
Spicy cod roe.
Also known karashi mentaiko.
Which is also known as pollack roe.
Too many names?
Mochiron! (もちろん！ーOf course in Japanese!)
I think so.
Tarako is the non-spicy version of mentaiko.
Never heard of mentaiko?
These are tiny little fish eggs that are slightly fishy and pack a ton of flavor.
You can get them regular or spicy.
I prefer spicy.
You can use mentaiko in many different ways.
Some examples include- in onigiri, pizza and other baked goods.
Japanese style pasta though is likely my favorite way to eat it.
What pasta should you use?
I’d recommend you use an Italian pasta such as Rustichella.
I’ve used different types of pasta including spaghetti, chitarra, and linguine.
All of which have been pretty comparable.
So any of them would work will with this mentaiko sauce.
Also you want to use whole soy bean (marudaizu shoyu) soy sauce to get the best results.
Whole bean soy sauce tends to have a fuller and richer flavor than soy sauce made from pulp.
What should you top the mentaiko spaghetti with?
All you need to top the pasta off with is a little bit of nori (dried seaweed) and shiso (perilla) leaves.
If you enjoy a creamy mentaiko sauce, this has just the right amount of cream and butter.
But if you like things a little saucier reserve some of the pasta water and add it at the end when you mix everything.
I’ve had mentaiko spaghetti swimming in a pool of cream which was wayy too much for me.
If you like that kind of pasta by all means just increase the amount of cream and butter.
Are you more of a visual person?
Watch me make this mentaiko pasta in the video below!-
Some tips on making mentaiko pasta with spaghetti-
- If you’re in a pinch and can’t make fresh spaghetti, don’t worry! I got you covered~! One of my favorite and highly recommended brands of pasta is Rustichella. If you’ve never tried it, I’d absolutely recommend giving it a try. It’s some of the best pasta I’ve found since eating it in Italy.
- Mentaiko pasta is one of those dishes you need to eat the same day. Why? Well, if you reheat it, you’re gonna use the microwave, and that will quickly cook all the little eggs. You don’t want cooked mentaiko eggs, it’s not the same. An alternative is to keep the sauce separate and mix in freshly boiled or reheated pasta the next day. That’s what I do if I’m planning to have leftovers.
- At your Japanese market, you’re likely to find two different types of mentaiko, one spicy and one normal. The ‘spicy’ one really isn’t that spicy, so if you’re worried about that I’d give it a try, it’s going to be pretty mild.
- In general, when making pasta it’s always a good idea to salt your water because salt helps to add flavor to your pasta
- Another thing to consider is to cook your pasta until just before al dente. By not cooking it all the way to al dente, you can finish it in the pasta sauce so that the sauce gets absorbed into the pasta as it finishes cooking. For this particular recipe we arent cooking it in this manner (we dont want to cook the eggs). But it’s something to keep in mind for other pasta recipes.
- If you’re looking for alternatives to this recipe, here are several other mentaiko sauce variations –
PS- Stay away from the mentaiko pasta packets! Making mentaiko spaghetti with pasta packets may be slightly easier than from scratch, but the flavor will not be as good! Plus it usually has color, MSG and other preservatives added to it
what do you like to put in your mentaiko pasta? have you had anything like this? let me know in the comments!