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Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta

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Sea urchin is called “ricci di mare” in Italian. In cuisines around the Mediterranean areas, it is commonly eaten raw with lemon, mixed into omelets or pasta dishes, or slathered on bread.

Uni Pasta

I had my first taste of sea urchin or uni pasta at Bestia in Downtown LA. It was spaghetti rustichella with sea urchin. I was intrigue by this dish because sea urchin is common on Asian menus, particularly Japanese, and I would have never thought to incorporate uni into Italian cooking. If you don’t know what sea urchin is, they look like underwater hedgehog with long thorny spikes all over their body. When they are cracked open, there are 5 sacs (a.k.a roe) that cling inside of its shell. Their roe is culinary delicacies in many cuisines. To many people, the taste of sea urchin is not appealing and I’m pretty sure most will gag once they take a whiff of it. It’s like you are tasting straight up sea water essence. The texture is very rich and buttery. It’s difficult to describe the taste of sea urchin, but it’s somewhere in between an oyster and caviar, yet erotic.

The common pasta used in this dish is spaghetti or bucatini. I recently bought reginella and few other pastas at TJ Maxx Home Goods store. It was made by Sapori di Napoli of Italy. Reginella pasta is ribbon like with curled edges. They retain the sauce more than any type of pastas and look very elegant. You would be surprised how much good stuff they have in the food/gourmet section!

You can buy sea urchin (uni) at your nearby Japanese market where it is readily available. I like to go to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa. It’s worth the 32 mile trek because I like to stop by and get some mochi-cream. Nomnomnom. :)

Curious to try sea urchin (uni)? You can check out 13 great sea urchin dishes to try in LA here.

Uni

Reginella Pasta

Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta

Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta

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Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Sea urchin is called "ricci di mare" in Italian. In cuisines around the Mediterranean areas, it is commonly eaten raw with lemon, mixed into omelets or pasta dishes, or slathered on bread.

Ingredients:

4 ounces reginette pasta
water, to boil pasta
few pinches of sea salt

Sauce:
4 ounces sea urchin (uni)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons pasta water
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. In a large pot, fill water 2/3 full. Heat water on high until soft boiling. Add sea salt and pasta. Cook until al dente. Reserve about 4-5 tablespoons of pasta water.

2. In a small food processor, add sea urchin and butter. Churn until evenly mixed and the sea urchin is broken down smoothly.

3. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and minced garlic. Stir and cook until lightly golden brown and aromatic. Add heavy cream and sea urchin mixture in the pan. Stir and mix until incorporated. Slowly add reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce thins out, but still slightly thick.

Recipe Source:
dang that's delicious
http://www.dangthatsdelicious.com/2014/05/28/sea-urchin-uni-pasta/ ‎

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