Spaghetti with botargo

Spaghetti, botargo and a bottle of white wine


Today we have a very simple recipe, but very tasty. It is prepared with botargo, and so we have to explain to the uninitiated what the botargo is. The botargo is derived from the fish roe(eggs) of tuna or flathead mullet (also called caviar of the Mediterranean). The two products differ both in color and taste(stronger in the tuna). The origin of the product seems to have been Phoenician, but the term is derived from the arab word batārikh (“salted fish eggs”). The botargo of tuna has a color ranging from light pink to dark, while those of the mullet has an amber color. Even the sizes vary. The “baffa” (bag of eggs) of a tuna of  over 100 kilos may exceed the kilo in weight, while that of the flathead mullet has a weight of no more than 400 grams. The ovarian sac, called “gonad” extracted from the female fish without breaking it, is washed to remove impurities and then subjected to salting, pressing and curing. It is a food regarded for its high protein content. In the past, in Sardinia and Sicily, it was common practice to eat the roe, both the botargo of tuna or of flathead mullet, as an appetizer or as a sauce for pasta, grated as you do with cheese : the habit has spread throughout the Tyrrhenian Italy, especially on spaghetti, creating the recipe for “spaghetti alla bottarga”. In Sardinia is also common eat pizzas sprinkled with botargo. As a starter you consume the botargo slices cut obliquely, sprinkled with a little olive oil, or resting on buttered toast.

Famous is the botargo prepared in Cagliari(see post), Tortoli, S. Antioco, Marceddì of Terralba and especially that coming from the pond of Cabras, while among those of tuna we have to mention those of Carloforte(see post).

Ingredients for 4:

  • 320 gr of spaghetti
  • bottarga
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil


Put the water on the fire to cook the pasta, add salt and boil. While the water warms, grate a generous amount of bottarga. Peel one or two cloves of garlic and eliminate  the green sprout inside them (so it is easier to digest). Put the whole cloves in a pan with olive oil and heat on the stove; remove the garlic after a few minutes (alternatively, if you like garlic, you can chop it, and if you wish you could also proceed by combining the garlic with olive oil in a bowl to flavor the oil, and  use it as it is, cold). When the water is boiling, cook the spaghetti and when they are cooked, put them into the pan with the olive oil, adding a generous sprinkling of bottarga, and cook over a moderate heat(sautè the pasta) for a few seconds and served.

You can enjoy this pasta with a nice white wine bottle of “Nuraghus” at a temperature of about 8-10 ° C.

wine, olive oil, Cannonau, Vermentino, Moscato, Malvasia, cagnulari, carignano

If you have 5 more minutes you may also be interested in:

vino,olio di oliva,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano

Fregula: A Sardinian Couscous

A meat pie: “Sa Panada”

Crispy vegetarian lasagne with Pane Carasau

Malloreddus with ragout of swordfish

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Wine Tasting - Tour of Sardinia

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