Cooking for yourself does not mean boiling instant noodles or eating poorly.
For a quick yet scrumptious dish that is easy to rustle up, try mentaiko pasta.
Mentaiko is spicy cured pollock roe, but I find it more savoury than spicy. With just a few ingredients and minimal effort, you can enjoy a Japanese cafe-style one-dish meal at home.
As I am crazy about it, I have added more shiso (perilla) in my take on this Japanese fusion dish. You can do without shiso and use nori strips as a garnish, but it is not quite the same.
Shiso has a herbaceous, nutty minty taste that helps cut through the creaminess and intensifies both flavour and texture.
This is a dish that requires very little washing up afterwards. Serve it with a side salad and you are all set for a delectable, fuss-free meal.
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2 shiso leaves
2 litres of water
2 tsp fine salt
85g angel hair pasta
1 Tbs thickened cream
10g finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
45g mentaiko (marinated pollock roe), removed from the sac
10 nori strips
3g Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings
1. Rinse and dry the shiso leaves.
2. Place the leaves one on top of the other. Roll them up and slice finely. Set aside.
3. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 2 tsp of fine salt.
4. Let water reach boiling point again and add pasta. Boil according to the packet’s instructions – usually around 4 to 5 minutes. Switch off fire.
5. Pour pasta into a colander to drain all the water. Place pasta back into pot.
6. In a bowl, mix thickened cream with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
7. Add the mixture to the pasta and stir through.
8. Add three-quarters of the mentaiko and toss through. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and toss briefly.
9. Transfer the pasta to a plate. Place the remaining mentaiko on top. Garnish with finely sliced shiso, nori strips and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.
10. Serve immediately.