Secret Ingredient: Hold the Cheese, Grate Bottarga Over Pasta Instead

July 10, 2018 Updated: October 8, 2018

Lorenzo Boni, executive chef of Barilla America, turns to bottarga for an extra punch of umami.

Secret Ingredient: Bottarga, dry fish roe, typically made with either tuna or mullet roe. My favorite is mullet roe bottarga, because it adds a fantastic umami flavor to anything you grate it on. I grew up eating bottarga; my parents fed it to me at a very young age. Now I can find it online easily. My favorite brand is Bottarga Gold.

How to Use It: My favorite way to consume it is grated over spaghetti, with just extra-virgin olive oil and black pepper. I usually grate five tablespoons of bottarga into a bowl and then whisk in five tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, black pepper to taste, and half a cup of the water I used to boil my pasta. Then, I drain the pasta, toss it in the bowl with the creamy emulsion, and top the dish with the remaining bottarga. It is also delicious on salads, seafood, pizza, eggs, melted cheese, and any kind of bruschetta.

Lorenzo Boni, executive chef, Barilla America. (Courtesy of Barilla)