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