malloreddus with sheep’s milk ricotta and bottarga

January 17th, 2010 · 52 Comments


in my ongoing hunt for new ways to prepare bottarga, by far one of my most favorite things to eat, i googled ‘bottarga and cream’ wondering what i might find. after all, one eats good caviar with creme fraiche so i felt i might be on to something. and once again the interwebs provided me with what was just yesterday completely unknown, and now will never be forgotten. thank you al gore.

the martha. you come for the guests (she has the best) and you leave – well, often because of martha. case in point. enter eficio farris. a dallas based chef from sardinia and writer of ‘sweet myrtle and bitter honey – flavors of sardinia‘. i’d never heard of him and now he’s my latest italian chef crush. move over michael white (of alto, convivio and my new most favorite restaurant marea)… because i’ve got sardinia to explore and eficio is taking me there.

yes, i love bottarga. it’s rich and deep and sings of the ocean at its sexiest, you know, the one below the rocky cliffs of any given country on the mediterranean sea. or in this case just off the coast of tampa where my dear friend RK catches these mullet each autumn, carefully packs the roes in salt and lets the floridian sun do the rest. in another preparation, he also gently smokes the roes, rendering them ever so slightly crisp on the outside and soft and smoky beyond measure on the inside, but that’s for another time…

when i saw the dish being put together on this video, it reminded me of burrata and how the cream fortifies the fresh mozzarella transforming it into something other worldly. i knew that i wanted to use sheep’s milk ricotta – impossible to procure in nashville, so it was back to, once again flying in 3 lbs, which comes to them directly from italy. being a highly perishable product it becomes an exercise in timing and willingness to pay the price. dare i say it’s the most exercise i’ve had all year…

i did the sheep’s milk ricotta shuffle once before when i made the uovo raviolo’s, a specialty of the then san domenico’s chef odette fada. odette moved with the owners of san domenico’s to the new and wonderful restaurant SD26 off madison ave in nyc. when i was there a few months ago they brought me one of these raviolo’s, and really they’re a revelation…

this pasta is everything i love about italian cooking. it’s got but a few flawless ingredients.

so find them. and make this.

malloreddus with sheep’s milk ricotta and bottarga
adapted from eficio farris ‘sweet myrtle and bitter honey – flavors of sardinia’

chef farris uses dry bottarga in the video. i’m not nearly as much of a fan of that powdery substance. i think the fresh is a much better product and worked wonderfully in the dish.

1 pound short tubular pasta, such as malloreddus
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
about half a cup of grated bottarga – i used the fresh on the large side of a box grater
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta
meanwhile, heat heavy cream in a large saucepan over medium heat.
add ricotta and stir until well combined.
cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and well combined, about 5 minutes.
stir in about 2/3’s of the bottarga and season with freshly ground black pepper.
drain pasta and add to ricotta mixture.
add parsley and toss until well combined
stir in olive oil.
transfer pasta to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining bottarga.
serve immediately.


the sardinians say that malloreddus pasta is shaped like a tear but really that is nothing but delusional. they look very much like larvae. but regardless, they fill up beautifully with this creamy sauce which has been somehow infused with the ocean.

again, if you are willing to track down the ingredients, you’ll be thrilled and delighted.

Tags: pasta

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