I've come across any number of variations on pasta with bottarga, but basically it's garlic, olive oil, pasta, bottarga, red pepper flakes, and flat leaf parsley. Like everything we cook here (or really anyone cooks anywhere) the quality of what goes into it is going to have a radical impact on the flavor of the finished dish. I've been using the sun-dried garlic from the Mahjoubs, which is pretty amazing, the newly arrived Primo Grano Rustichella chitarra for the pasta, and the Sardinian Montalbo olive oil from Efisio. Because I'm totally biased towards arugula, I used that instead of parsley, but you could use whatever you like of course.
Happily, the whole thing is extremely simple. The olive oil goes into a warm but not super hot sauté pan. Add a bit of the sun dried garlic. I'm not the hugest garlic eater so I don't put a lot in, but you can add as much as you like. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water. I've been cooking it increasingly al dente and liking it all the more for that. When the pasta is a minute or so away from being done, add a teaspoon or so per person of ground bottarga to the warm oil. You don't want to really cook the bottarga—just heat it and infuse its flavor into the olive oil.
As soon as the pasta is done (very al dente), add it to the garlic and oil in the sauté pan. Add another teaspoonful of bottarga per person and your chopped arugula or parsley, a good dose of Marash pepper flakes (terrific red pepper from Turkey), and a bit more of the olive oil. Toss well so it's really hot but don't cook too long. Serve as is, maybe with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. People can add more bottarga at the table too, of course. That's it. The kind of thing that takes 15 minutes to make, tastes great, and is good for you.
Lori Farris told me this dish is basically "the macaroni and cheese of Sardinia," which I think puts it in context, and helps explain why it's now on my list of easy-to-make-after-a-long-day-at-work types of dishes. It also explains why there are dozens of variations out there. Efisio has one where he adds fresh ricotta, which makes the dish much richer but still very good. You can also add a bit of roasted red pepper. Many people use half butter and half olive oil.
You get the idea though—you can riff off it any way you like. I'm sure every Sardinian household probably had its own version of the dish, and I'm sure every Sardinian kid is probably loyal to the way he or she grew up eating it.
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