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Tarako Spaghetti (Salted Cod Fish Roe Pesto With Pasta)

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“This is a dish that my kids LOVE for lunch. It's not inexpensive because the tarako can be spendy, but it's quick so I like to have the ingredients on hand. This isn't a sauce like spaghetti sauce that completely covers the pasta, it's more like a pesto. When adding the heavy cream, just get it to the consistency of pesto that you can toss with pasta. If the pasta sticks hopelessly together when tossing the sauce with it, you've overcooked the noodles. The recipe ingredient filters here won't allow the phrase "2 tarako (salted code roe)" as an ingredient, but that is specifically what this recipe is written for.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 fish roe, see note 1 (must be Japanese salted cod roe called tarako or karashi mentaiko)
  • 6 ounces spaghettini noodles (or finer)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 14 cup heavy cream (or less)
  • 14 sheet nori, cut into tiny tiny strips


  1. Note 1: a) Tarako comes in sausage-looking pieces b)you can choose either the spicy kind (karashi mentaiko) or just plain tarako c)you can find tarako at the Japanese grocery store, often it is in the freezer.
  2. Cut open the casing on each piece of tarako and gently scrape or squeeze out the roe.
  3. Discard the casings.
  4. Start your water to boil for the spaghetti.
  5. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add roe, stirring until the color of the roe changes to a pale orange.
  6. Stir in about half the heavy cream until well blended and heated through. As necessary, you can add the rest of the heavy cream.
  7. Turn off the heat and keep the sauce just warm.
  8. Don't ask me why, but a friend stirs in a spoonful of Kewpie Mayonnaise before tossing this dish together (I love Kewpie mayo, but I haven't tried this addition).
  9. Cook the pasta to al dente.
  10. Drain pasta and toss with sauce (sprinkle on the nori over the top just before taking the plates to the table) to serve.

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