Uni, or sea urchin roe, is a decadent ingredient that holds a special place in my heart. Because I work on a lot of shows for the Food Network, I often find myself bringing home a bit of extra uni when I finish up a shoot. I can eat it in just about any preparation, whether by itself or as part of an elaborate sushi roll.
Many people are a bit wary of trying uni for the first time, so I’m a huge fan of making this pasta dish — you get a great bang for your buck, and pasta sauce is familiar enough that even the less-adventurous eaters in your crowd will be willing to give it a go. This is a great way to splurge for a New Year’s Eve dinner party or other special occasion.
5 oz sea urchin roe
8 tablespoons room-temperature butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 cloves garlic
2 small shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound pasta — linguini or spaghetti both work well, but you can get creative and use whatever shape you prefer!
crushed red pepper
In a food processor, combine butter and uni and pulse until smooth.
Bring salted water to boil in a medium stock pot and cook pasta until just al dente. Time will vary depending on the type of pasta you use.
In a medium saucepan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the shallots and garlic until slightly browned. De-glaze with white wine and add the uni mixture and crushed red pepper.
Add stock and whisk until combined. Cook for 3-5 minutes until slightly reduced. Meanwhile, strain your pasta, reserve a bit of the starchy pasta water, and set aside.
Whisk in heavy cream and reserved pasta water, season with salt and pepper, and toss pasta in uni sauce while still on heat.
Serve immediately and garnish with parsley, if desired. This dish works great served family style, or plated in individual portions.