Spaghetti and Karasumi Cream Sauce

The taste of the sea blended with pasta creates this simple and sophisticated dish.  Karasumi, also known as “Japanese Bottarga”,  is salted, dried fish roe.  This recipe features karasumi in a butter and cream based sauce.  Spaghetti is tossed together in that sauce and then topped with nori and shiso.

Karasumi, also known as “Japanese Bottarga”,  is salted and dried mullet roe.  Karasumi is considered one of the three Chimnis (best food delicacies) in Japan along with sea urchin roe and salted sea cucumber innards.  Although somewhat expensive, karasumi has a strong taste and you don’t need to use much to flavor a dish.

Karasumi can be eaten like caviar, or it can be used as an ingredient in other dishes.  It’s often used to make onigiri (rice balls), ochazuke (tea flavored rice broth), or in pasta.

Karasumi-salted and dried mullet roe, from Nagasaki, Japan

This dish is both simple and elegant, using cream based sauce with karasumi mixed in and then topped with Japanese nori (pressed seaweed) and fresh shiso leaves.  If you cannot find karasumi you can substitute other types of roe such as sea urchin, tobiko or mentaiko – but you will need to use more because karasumi has a strong taste.  It also has a slightly cheesy taste, so you don’t need to add cheese to this pasta.

Sliced Karasumi

Try this recipe and you might be surprised at how elegant and tasty it is, especially considering that you can whip it up in less than 15 minutes.

Spaghetti and Karasumi Cream Sauce

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15 minutes Serves 1
COOKING 15 minutes
YIELD Serves 1


  • 1/4 lb spaghetti
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP grated karasumi or bottarga
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 TBSP lightly salted butter
  • Nori (laver), cut in thin strips
  • 2-3 fresh chopped shiso leaves
Ingredients for Karasumi pasta
Karasumi can be grated using a cheese grater.


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the cream and mayonnaise and warm up while stirring gradually.  Do not boil.

  • Remove from heat.  Add the karasumi and stir in until well combined and any remaining chunks are broken up.

  • Prepare the spaghetti per the directions on the package.  Drain and pour the drained pasta into the cream mixture.

  • Toss well and ensures the pasta is coated.

  • Top with shiso and nori and serve while hot.


  • This recipe is for a single plate of karasumi.  Be sure to increase the ingredients accordingly for more people.
  • Leftover pasta can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the microwave or over a stove.


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