Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Mare

The nice thing about cooking vacation memories is that even after having returned two months ago, it still keeps the memories fresh. When I saw Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Mare on the menu of La Perla in Calasetta on Sardinia, I was curious and asked what it was. Regular spaghetti alla carbonara (with cured pork and eggs) is one of our favorite dishes. The version at La Perla was made with bottarga (cured fish eggs) with pieces of swordfish and calamari. It is basically an extended version of spaghetti con la bottarga. I agree with the name “carbonara”, because bottarga is made of (fish) eggs, and when mixed with pasta cooking water, it does create a similar consistency as that of a regular carbonara. The flavor is more pronounced and it tastes of the sea, so the “di Mare” is very appropriate as well. Since I was making a small portion I only used swordfish for my own rendition of the dish, but you could certainly use calamari as well, or substitute the swordfish completely with diced calamari.


For 2 servings

225 grams (.5 lb) diced swordfish, or diced calamari, or both

50 grams (1.8 oz) freshly grated bottarga

150 grams (.33 lb) spaghetti


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine


Dice the swordfish.

Place the diced swordfish in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt (I only made a single portion). Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for an hour to allow the swordfish to cure a little.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add salt and the spaghetti and set the timer for the time indicated for al dente on the package.

While the spaghetti is cooking, grate the bottarga…

…and pat the swordfish dry with paper towels.

3 minutes before the pasta is cooked, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the swordfish, and stir over high heat for a minute.

Then pour in the white wine.

Stir briefly to allow the alcohol to evaporate, then turn off the heat.

When the timer beeps, drain the spaghetti, reserving a bit of the cooking water. Add the spaghetti to the swordfish, together with most of the grated bottarga.

Stir until the bottarga has melted and coats the spaghetti, adding a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed.

Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining bottarga.

Wine pairing

This is great with a Vermentino from Sardinia, but many other dry Italian whites will work as well.



I make slow-roasted cauliflower very often. It is a great way to prepare cauliflower that really brings out the flavor.


12 thoughts on “Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Mare

  1. I think I like carbonara di mare more than real carbonara. we we had the restaurant it was often on our lunch menu: we would use locally smoked mackerel (and sometimes smoked salmon too). I add some lemon zest to the eggs and lots of chopped parsley (or chives or dill). bottarga seems a good idea too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderfully interesting recipe which will be tried soonest . . . am somewhat amused tho’ at the use of ‘carbonara’ by both you and Stefano: *smile* fish eggs somehow do not quite equate to those a chicken produces in my book! Am here to learn . . . love the use of bottarga . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. When I first read the name of the dish I was wondering how a classic Carbonara would fare with seafood. I’m glad I read on, who would of thought that grated Bottarga and pasta water would combine to look that way. Must try to find some Bottarga and try this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds delicious and very interesting. I wonder if anyone has tried fresh raw fish eggs from today’s catch? I am only familiar with trout, salmon, northern pike and whitefish roe. All I have ever done with them is to poach them gently in butter for a minute or so and lay them on sliced white bread. This leaves a lot of the yolks still soft and the sack tissue a bit stringy, which I don’t mind but I could never serve it to guests (only ever shared with one friend who loved it as much as I).
    I think it would be possible to pull away more of the sac tissue freeing the eggs and letting them fall onto the hot pasta in the pan. A few folds and, Voila!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you can buy salmon roe and other fish roe (as ‘imitiation caviar’) here in a small glass jar and you could certainly use it to make a different type of carbonara di mare. Thanks for the idea.


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