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Pasta with Ricotta and Bottarga

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The second annual Italian Expo went on this past weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center. As the name implies, the event featured everything Italian, from vintage sports cars to runway fashion shows to displays of modern furniture. However, these things were merely walls of a maze keeping me from the food and wine that sat at the heart of the venue's spacious Hall A.

The expo offered a myriad of Italian meats, cheeses, wines, oils and vinegars for tasting. Though all the tastings made for a great afternoon snack, I was after some cooking tips from the Italian pros. I found it in one of the cooking demonstrations lead by Chef Giancarlo Ferrara of Arcodoro. The recipe below is for macarrones kin recottu, which is pasta with a ricotta and bottarga sauce. Bottarga, sometimes called "the poor man's caviar," is the Mediterranean delicacy of cured fish roe and is common in Sardinian cuisine.

This recipe is also featured in Sweet Myrtle & Bitter Honey by Efisio Farris with Jim Eber.

Pasta with Ricotta and Bottarga

  • 1 pound malloreddus pasta (short and tubular)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (preferably from sheep's milk)
  • 4 tablespoons grated bottarga di muggine (grey mullet roe)
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente.

    2. Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ricotta and cook for 5 minutes, continuously stirring until the sauce thickens and is even. Add ground pepper to taste and stir in half of the bottarga until even.

    3. Drain the pasta and add to the ricotta mixture. Add parsley and toss well to combine. Stir in the olive oil. Separate into serving dishes and sprinkle with remaining bottarga.

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