I show you how to make seafood carbonara. This is a Japanese masago pasta recipe that uses a mix of shrimp, squid and vibrant masago roe. Part Italian, part Japanese this pasta was inspired by a dish from one my favourite restaurants in Vancouver, called Cafe de L’Orangerie. Using that as my base, I gave my own twist to it and the result is this delicious, creamy, pasta.
As I mentioned before this is based of an existing carbonara from Cafe De L’Orangerie. Don’t confuse this with mentaiko pasta though. Mentaiko is a whole egg sack that are harvested from cod and pollock. They come in various flavours such as spicy, brined, and salty.
My dish uses masago, which is the roe from the smelt fish. Their appearance is bright orange and opaque in colour. Their flavour is more on the mild side, and is usually used as a garnish or to complement other flavours.
Unlike the tobiko roe, which comes from the flying fish. They usually have a dark orange-y red colour, though you can sometimes find them in black or green. Tobiko are crunchier than masago roe, and has more “fish-y” flavour. You’ll usually find them priced higher than masago.
Because I added 2 other seafood into the pasta, I wanted something that would complement with their mild flavours. So, I opted for the masago roe. Of course, you’re allowed to use whatever you want. Hell, if you’re brave enough you can go and try some salmon roe. That’d be pretty intense.
So, that’s pretty much I have to say about this dish. It’s very simple to make and has amazing flavour. Oh, and this isn’t sponsored or anything! I really do enjoy eating at the cafe, and I think their food is amazing. Please check them out if you’re visiting Vancouver!
serves 4-6 people
4-5 servings of spaghetti
350g squid rings
200g raw shrimp
300g mushrooms (sliced)
100g masago roe
6oz sliced bacon (about 6 strips)
3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 small onion (diced)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup grated parmesan
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup white wine
salt & pepper
Slice the bacon into thin strips and cook them on medium heat in a large sauce pan. While that is cooking, finely dice the onion and give the mushrooms a good slice.
Set a large pot of water to boil with a couple tsp of salt.
Once the bacon are cooked, take them out, skim the fat out leaving 1 tbsp in pan. Melt the butter and start cooking the shrimp. Mine were already peeled and had their heads removed which saves a lot of time, especially for weekday meals. Almost any kind of shrimp will work too. Cook them on each side for 2-3 minutes or until each side has colour and a bit of crunchiness.
Once the shrimp are cooked, take them out, and dump in the squid rings. They only need to be cooked for about 1.5-2 minutes on each side, or toss them around for 3-4 minutes. Scoop them out once they’re cooked, and toss in the diced onions and mushroom. Cook them with a pinch of salt, making sure to scrape the fond off the pan.
When the onions are soft, toss in the white wine and deglaze the pan with it. After all the alcohol has evaporated, add the garlic, and saute them for 1 minute. Afterwards throw all the cooked food back in and give everything a good stir. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add the pasta once the water start the boil.
Now for the sauce. Give the egg yolks a good whisk before seasoning them with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the cream, and finish with the grated parmesan.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and add it to the cooked seafood. Make sure to save about 2 cups of the pasta water! We’re going to use it to finish the sauce. Turn the sauce pan with the food on the lowest setting. Pour in the sauce, then give everything a very good toss making sure everything is coated with the cream.
Give a couple slashes of pasta water until it looks nice and silky. Mix in the masago roe, then give it a taste to see if it needs as salt and pepper. Serve with diced tomatoes, chopped parsley, more masago, and shredded seaweed.