Bottarga Pasta Recipe

Bottarga Pasta

The Spruce Eats / Morgan Baker

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings

If you’re not familiar with bottarga, this will be a new and exciting recipe to add to your repertoire. Bottarga is fish roe that’s been salted and then pressed and dried in what is essentially a curing process. It makes bottarga a satisfyingly savory ingredient, salty and packed with umami flavor. In this dish, it adds a deliciously salty punch of flavor to fresh pasta, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon.

While it can be a pricey item to keep on hand, you can usually find bottarga at specialty food stores or order it online. Purchase this ingredient grated in small amounts and add to vegetables, salads, pasta, on top of bagels, and even sprinkled on chowders and other soups.

This version of the pasta combines the salty, tangy flavor of bottarga with the spicy bite of red pepper flakes and the zest of lemon to create a well-rounded and simple dish. Pair this pasta with a lean protein like grilled chicken or prawns and a light green salad. You can add as much or as little of the red pepper as you desire, or you can remove it altogether if you aren’t a fan of spice.


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons grated bottarga

  • 12 ounces fresh pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine 

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the whole garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in the grated bottarga.

  5. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

  6. Drain the pasta, making sure to reserve one cap of the pasta water.

  7. Stop the cooking by running cold water over the cooked pasta.

  8. Add the cooked pasta to the bottarga mixture and toss to coat.

  9. Turn the heat to medium and add some of the reserved pasta water, a splash at a time, if the pasta looks dry.

  10. Add the lemon zest and juice and half the parsley.

  11. Transfer to a serving platter or plates and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve warm.

How to Store

This pasta dish is best served and eaten right after cooking. However, if you happen to have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to five days. Reheat the pasta in the microwave until warmed through or on the stovetop in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water or stock. 

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