Comfort Cooking

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Fuss-free mentaiko pasta for one

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Wondering what to cook today? In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo whips up easy eats to try at home

Cooking for yourself does not mean boiling instant noodles or eating poorly.

For a quick yet scrumptious dish that is easy to rustle up, try mentaiko pasta.

Mentaiko is spicy cured pollock roe, but I find it more savoury than spicy. With just a few ingredients and minimal effort, you can enjoy a Japanese cafe-style one-dish meal at home.

As I am crazy about it, I have added more shiso (perilla) in my take on this Japanese fusion dish. You can do without shiso and use nori strips as a garnish, but it is not quite the same.

Shiso has a herbaceous, nutty minty taste that helps cut through the creaminess and intensifies both flavour and texture.

This is a dish that requires very little washing up afterwards. Serve it with a side salad and you are all set for a delectable, fuss-free meal.

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MENTAIKO PASTA

INGREDIENTS

2 shiso leaves

2 litres of water

2 tsp fine salt

85g angel hair pasta

1 Tbs thickened cream

10g finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

45g mentaiko (marinated pollock roe), removed from the sac

Sea salt

10 nori strips

3g Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings

METHOD

1. Rinse and dry the shiso leaves.

2. Place the leaves one on top of the other. Roll them up and slice finely. Set aside.

3. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 2 tsp of fine salt.

4. Let water reach boiling point again and add pasta. Boil according to the packet's instructions - usually around 4 to 5 minutes. Switch off fire.

5. Pour pasta into a colander to drain all the water. Place pasta back into pot.

6. In a bowl, mix thickened cream with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

7. Add the mixture to the pasta and stir through.

8. Add three-quarters of the mentaiko and toss through. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and toss briefly.

9. Transfer the pasta to a plate. Place the remaining mentaiko on top. Garnish with finely sliced shiso, nori strips and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.

10. Serve immediately.

Serves one

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2020, with the headline 'Fuss-free mentaiko pasta for one'. Print Edition | Subscribe