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Mentaiko Pasta

First posted in 2011, updated in Mar 2015.

Mentaiko is marinated pollock roe and a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Using it to make mentaiko pasta (明太子パスタ) is my favourite way to enjoy this ingredient. This Italian-Japanese pasta is usually quite expensive on the menu, but easily less than half the price and more than double the roe, to make at home.

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Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

As gourmet as this pasta may sound and look, it is actual the simplest pasta recipe out there! The sauce does not require stove-top cooking and took me 5 minutes. The only real cooking I did was to cook the pasta (spaghetti).

Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

To make the 5-minute sauce, I basically melted butter in the microwave, then whisked in the other ingredients in a small bowl.

Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)

There are two main types of spicy ‘karashi’ mentaiko (辛子明太子) you can find at the local Japanese supermarkets. The colourless type will result in a colourless pasta with visible bits of roe in it. On the other hand, the coloured type (featured in this recipe; pictured above), will result in a slight salmon pink pasta sauce.  Click here to read more information about mentaiko.

Mentaiko Pasta Recipe

52 comments on “Mentaiko Pasta”

  1. May I know if I substitute the butter with olive oil will I be vastly altering the taste ?

  2. Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

    • unsalted butter and season the sauce if needed with salt later (but it’s ok if you only have salted butter in the fridge right now).

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