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mentaiko pasta topped with chopped shiso leaves close up

Japanese Mentaiko Pasta (Cod Roe Spaghetti)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 portions 1x


How to make delicious Japanese style Tarako / Mentaiko Pasta (たらこ・明太子パスタ) with spaghetti, homemade cod roe sauce and fragrant shiso leaves.


  • 200g Spaghetti (1.7-1.8ml)
  • 3 litres Water
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 80g Mentaiko or Tarako
  • 20g Unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Tsuyu sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 pinch Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 3 Ooba leaves or 2 tbsp cut nori
  • 1 slice Lemon (optional, see note) 


  1. First, take a large pot and bring 3 litres of water to a boil.
    Heating 3 litres of water in a large pot
  2. While you're waiting for your water to boil, soften the butter and take the skin off of the mentaiko by cutting it open and scraping the contents out with a spoon. (Don't throw away the skin, it's edible so you can eat it with rice or put it in onigiri rice balls.)
    Scraping the eggs out of the mentaiko
  3. Cut the ooba leaves into 3mm wide strips.
    Cutting the shiso leaf into 3mm slices
  4. Once the water is boiling, add 1 tbsp of salt and 200g spaghetti. Cook until "el dente" (firm to the bite).
    Boiling spaghetti in a pan
  5. While you wait for the spaghetti to cook, take a large bowl and add the butter, mentaiko, olive oil, tsuyu sauce, black pepper and milk. Mix until well incorporated.
    Mixing up the mentaiko sauce
  6. Once the spaghetti is cooked, take 1 tbsp of the pasta water and add it to the bowl of mentaiko sauce.
    Adding water from the pasta to the sauce
  7. Drain the rest of the water and add the cooked spaghetti to the bowl.
    Adding the spaghetti to the bowl
  8. Mix until the pasta is well covered.
    Mixing mentaiko pasta sauce and spaghetti together in a bowl
  9. Transfer the pasta to serving dishes and top with the cut ooba leaves (or nori).
    Topping the mentaiko pasta with shiso leaves
  10. Enjoy!
    mentaiko pasta on a fork


If you're using nori, about 1/4 a sheet of sushi nori will be enough to garnish two portions.

You can add a squeeze of lemon over the pasta at the end.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Fusion
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese / Italian

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