Monday, December 16, 2013

Uni Pasta - Easy Decadence

For sushi lovers uni is a delicacy, as it is in nature. Uni is the Japanese word for the gonads, or sex organs, of sea urchins. Uni is, in fact, delicate and must be handled with care. It's very soft and even a bit mushy.  Eaten, it's got a creamy consistency.

In Japan, uni can go for as much as $400 a kilo. Luckily, we have plenty of local sea urchins off of our California coast. At Sunh Fish the uni comes in from Fort Bragg. A small tray of uni is $9.75 and a large tray is under $20. This is for the nice, pretty stuff as you see in the picture above.

But Sunh Fish also sells not-pretty uni for less. They have pint containers of mashed uni for $8.75 and it's perfect for making uni pasta or, if you go to Kru, Bill's uni panna cotta.  

That one pint of frozen uni mash will last me forever for uni pasta.  For a single serving I only need a quarter cup of it. Thus making it a very affordable deal. 

Uni pasta is super easy. And even though it uses no cheese, it's as creamy as if it did. 

Uni pasta

1/4 pound of fresh pasta noodles
1/4 cup of uni
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 T butter
reserved pasta water
caviar for garnish (optional)

Cook pasta until al dente. Before draining, scoop out a quarter cup of hot pasta water. 

In a small bowl mash the uni if it isn't already. Mix in olive oil and pepper flakes. 

Drain the pasta and immediately return it to the hot pot with the butter. After the butter has melted, stir in the uni mixture. If necessary, add a bit of reserved pasta water a little at a time until the uni pasta is nice and creamy.  

If you can, serve with a bit of caviar as garnish. It adds a nice bit of saltiness.
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